SingTel Mulls Amobee Divestiture; Vungle Acquires Playable Startup TreSensa

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Swan Song?

Telcos rushed headlong into the ad tech business, but will they survive it? Verizon washed its hands of ad tech with the sale of Verizon Media to Apollo; And Xandr is in limbo following AT&T’s mega-spinoff of WarnerMedia. But three’s a trend. And now Reuters reports that Singaporean telco giant SingTel is shopping its digital marketing arm, Amobee. SingTel was one of the first telcos to drum up digital ad dollars when it bought Amobee for $321 million in 2012. SingTel has tried to diversify, as it deals with slowing growth for its traditional carrier business. Yuen Kuan Moon, SingTel’s newly minted CEO, said that the carrier is “open to all types of strategic partnerships and deals, including inviting investors who have complementary capabilities and can enhance the value of the businesses.” Wherever Amobee lands, it will bring a heck of a lot of ad tech history. Since 2012, Amobee has acquired six companies: AdJitsu (don’t worry, we forgot about that one, too), Gradient X, Adconion, Kontera, Turn and Videology.

Let’s Play

Blackstone-backed mobile marketing platform Vungle has announced its third acquisition in less than six months. The newest addition is TreSensa, a startup focused on interactive playable ads. Playables allow users to experience part of an app before deciding to download, which can lead to better retention and lifetime value. Terms weren’t disclosed, but the rationale behind the TreSensa deal is clear. “Our vision is to be the only mobile performance marketing platform that addresses the complete app growth cycle,” Vungle’s CEO Jeremy Bondy tells GamesBeat. Vungle purchased the app optimization startup AlgoLift in October of last year and the gaming analytics provider GameRefinery in March. [Related in AdExchanger: “Vungle Is Maturing Away From Its Mobile Ad Network Roots.”]

Sparks Fly

The court battle between Epic Games and Apple grew even more heated on Tuesday after Apple put its former marketing chief, Phil Schiller, on the stand. It wasn’t pretty. Schiller is among multiple top Apple execs who have begun testifying in federal court after Epic’s hugely popular game Fortnite was kicked out of the App Store last year for flouting Apple’s 30% fee. Epic is arguing that Apple runs its store as an illegal monopoly because iOS devices don’t allow alternative payment systems. Schiller was grilled by Epic attorney Katherine Forrest about  a series of internal emails between Apple executives that date back more than a decade. In Epic’s view, the emails demonstrate clear intent on the part of Apple to quell competition. In reference to one exchange from 2008 between Schiller and Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs about Google and the iPhone ad market, Forrest pointedly asked, “You weren’t basking in the ability to destroy another company’s business?” “No,” Schiller replied. Guess that settles it. Tuesday’s combative cross-examination was in stark contrast to Monday, when Schiller smoothly led an Apple attorney through the App Store’s 12-year history. MarketWatch has more.

But Wait, There’s More! 

Google has accelerated its efforts to limit ad tracking on Android in response to Apple’s privacy policy updates – but they’re delayed by internal concerns about the impact to Google’s bottom line. [The Information]

What’s up with YouTube ads showing up in Safari even for people who use a paid ad blocker? [blog post]

Attribution Kochava has acquired DigiCenter, a company that offers identity solutions and cross-device graph data. Terms were not disclosed. [MediaPost]

Profitero has launched a new product to make enterprise-quality analytics more accessible for small ecommerce teams with limited budgets. [release]

Facebook will launch weekly livestream shopping events with Sephora, Abercrombie and other big brands, hoping for a slice of a market that could be worth $20 billion. [Business Insider]

Marketers love their KPIs, but are mostly looking at the wrong ones, according to a new study from the ANA. [Ad Age]

Adform has expanded its TripleLift partnership with a new direct integration. [release]

You’re Hired!

Zeta names Cherryl Valenzuela SVP of investor relations in advance of an IPO. [release]

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