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SingTel subsidiary Amobee acquires ad tech firms for S$450m

Amobee says the acquisitions will help it to better capitalise on the fast growing digital advertising market.

SINGAPORE: Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) subsidiary Amobee said on Wednesday (June 11) it will spend US$359 million (S$450 million) to buy over advertising technology companies Adconion and Kontera Technologies.

Amobee will spend about US$150 million to acquire San Francisco-based Kontera Technologies, a digital content intelligence and marketing technology company with offices in the US, UK and Israel. Adconion, a cross channel digital advertising company, will be acquired at US$209 million. The purchase will be for Adconion's US assets and Australian assets.

The acquisitions are subject to certain conditions being satisfied and approvals obtained, SingTel said in a statement.

Mr Allen Lew, CEO, Group Digital L!fe and Chairman of Amobee, said: "These acquisitions will further differentiate Amobee and help solidify its position in the digital advertising market."

The acquisitions are not SingTel's first foray into the digital advertising space. In 2012, the telco bought Amobee for US$321 million. Amobee in turn acquired another US startup Gradient X, a developer of a real-time bidding platform for mobile ads, in September 2013.

SingTel has been trying to develop new growth engines in the digital space to complement its existing mobile and fixed line services that have become increasingly commoditised. The strategy includes investing in technology start-ups to help generate new content and services.

Earlier this month, it teamed up with Standard Chartered to launch a mobile money service that lets customers pay friends and merchants with funds stored on their phones.

Last month, SingTel launched Genio, an interactive educational service aimed at augmenting the local primary school curriculum. Genio will initially be accessible on three different platforms – on phones and tablets via the Apple App Store, on SingTel mio TV and online via any web browser.

SingTel's foray into the digital space has been costly. For the three months ended March, businesses grouped under Digital L!fe saw losses widen to S$67 million even though operating revenue rose 73 percent to S$50 million.

SingTel has allocated up to S$2 billion for investments in the digital space until FY2016.

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