Twitter acquires mobile ad exchange MoPub for a reported $350M

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Twitter has acquired mobile advertising exchange MoPub, signaling the microblogging platform's latest step to accelerate revenues ahead of a much-rumored initial public offering.

Twitter and MoPub did not divulge financial terms of the deal, although TechCrunch reports Twitter will pay $350 million in stock, adding that the company beat out other bidders like mobile ad network Millennial Media (NYSE:MM), which snapped up rival Jumptap for $196.8 million last month.

MoPub launched in late 2010: Co-founders Jim Payne, Bryan Atwood and Nafis Jamal previously teamed at AdMob, the mobile advertising network acquired by Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) for $750 million. The MoPub Marketplace real-time bidding exchange connects advertisers and demand-side platforms, enabling mobile app developers and publishers to manage inventory and optimize multiple ad formats in a single product.

"The two major trends in the ad world right now are the rapid consumer shift toward mobile usage, and the industry shift to programmatic buying," said Twitter Vice President of Revenue Product Kevin Weil. "Twitter sits at the intersection of these, and we think by bringing MoPub's technology and team to Twitter, we can further drive these trends for the benefit of consumers, advertisers and agencies."

Weil said Twitter will continue to invest in MoPub Marketplace, with plans to extend many native ad types across the mobile ecosystem. The firm also will leverage MoPub technology to build real-time bidding into the Twitter ads platform, enabling advertisers to more efficiently automate and scale buys.

The worldwide mobile ad market is expected to grow 89 percent to $16.65 billion this year, according to a recent eMarketer forecast. Twitter is on pace to capture 1.85 percent of the global mobile ad market in 2013, increasing from 1.57 percent a year ago, but still trails far behind Google and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), which will combine to control close to 70 percent of the segment.

Twitter has said it plans to drive $1 billion in revenues in 2014. The company has consistently waved off IPO speculation, but in recent weeks CEO Dick Costolo promoted Ali Rowghani to COO and hired Mike Gupta as vice president of corporate finance and treasurer, former Morgan Stanley executive Cynthia Gaylor as head of corporate development and ex-Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard as head of commerce, fueling buzz that a public offering is in Twitter's immediate future. Last month, The New York Post reported that Costolo has met with bankers and could file IPO paperwork before the end of this year.

Twitter passed the 200 million monthly active user milestone in late 2012. Research firm comScore reports that 53.6 percent of unique Twitter users access the platform via mobile device.

For more:
- read this Twitter Blog post
- read this TechCrunch article

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