More Mobile Consolidation: RNTS-Owned Fyber Acquires Heyzap For $45 Million

FyberHeyzapBerlin-based Fyber is on a tear.

On Friday, Fyber, an SSP for mobile app developers, and its parent company RNTS Media announced that they’ve acquired mobile ad network Heyzap for as much as $45 million. RNTS Media will pay $20 million in cash upfront, with an additional $25 million in cash and shares available down the line if Heyzap hits performance targets by 2017.

The move comes roughly nine months after Fyber spent around $11 million on German SSP and ad server Falk Realtime in April.

RNTS, a publicly traded company on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, first signaled its intention to acquire Heyzap on behalf of Fyber in late December. Fyber became an independent subsidiary of RNTS in October 2014 as part of a $190 million deal.

Until this point, Fyber and Heyzap were direct competitors in the fight to win publisher contracts for mobile ad monetization.

That wasn’t always the case. Heyzap started life in 2009 focused more on social app discovery than monetization. Back then, Heyzap and Fyber (before it rebranded from SponsorPay), were partners. More recently, Heyzap got into the mobile advertising space and the two started butting heads.

“We’d been competing with Fyber very seriously for the last year or so,” said Heyzap co-founder Jude Gomila.

But it soon became apparent that they could be better together, said Janis Zech, COO and co-founder of Fyber.

“Sometimes when you compete, you realize that you actually have a shared mission, and for both of us that means helping publishers integrate, manage and optimize their ad revenue in one solution,” Zech said.

The Heyzap acquisition is part of Fyber’s larger plan to improve its “stickiness with existing publisher clients,” said RNTS CEO and Fyber co-founder Andreas Bodczek.

But the remaining competition is fierce. The mobile monetization landscape is populated by the likes of MoPub, Smaato, AdMob and Rubicon, to name a few.

Which is a large part of the reason why RNTS raised a 100 million euro bond (around US$112 million) in August, earmarked mainly for acquisitions.

“We’re interested in serving all sorts of different publishers with a single unified point of integration to service their various advertising needs,” Zech said.

Fyber’s stack already includes ad network mediation, access to rewarded and nonrewarded ad units, user segmentation, analytics and optimization. The Falk buy was about programmatic and RTB – the Falk ad server is being integrated directly into Fyber’s RTB exchange, a process Bodczek expects to be complete within the next six months – while Heyzap will help bolster mediation, cross-promotion and user acquisition.

Another factor behind the Heyzap acquisition: scale. Heyzap’s 130 million monthly active users boosts Fyber’s to 541 million. Heyzap also brings along relationships with approximately 5,000 publishers, app developers and brands, including CBS, King, Gameloft, Machine Zone, Mattel and Hipster Whale, maker of Crossy Road.

All of Heyzap’s 21 employees are expected to join the Fyber team, swelling the company’s ranks to just over 300 – and they don’t have to travel far to their new digs. Heyzap’s office is located down the street from Fyber’s San Francisco outpost. Heyzap’s co-founder Gomila will stay on board to head up sales.

Prior to the acquisition, Heyzap had raised $8 million in five rounds, the most recent of which was a $4.3 million Series B in December 2012, led by Qualcomm Ventures and Union Square Ventures.

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