Is Google about to acquire InMobi?
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According to press reports this morning, Google is in the early stages of talks to acquire Bangalore-based start-up company InMobi, which specialises in mobile advertising. In a report in India’s Economic Times, a source says that terms and conditions for the deal have not yet been agreed, but a likely valuation would be in the region of $1 billion or more.
InMobi was launched in 2007 and has over 1 billion users across 200 countries. I interviewed InMobi’s Chief Revenue Officer, Atul Satija, at Mobile World Congress last week, and asked him about the state of the mobile apps market and its long-term sustainability. In a frank and open interview, Atul explained the trends we are seeing now, how the HTML5 movement has missed its chance, why operators still feel isolated and under-valued, and how successful developers need to move from freemium or one-off sales into a longer period of financial engagement with users.
Whilst Atul obviously doesn’t mention Google (this was filmed last Thursday, after all), you can understand why Google would be interested in bringing them on board. After all, why should Facebook and Twitter have all the fun? (Twitter acquired India-based mobile marketing start-up Zip-Dial for $30 million in January, and last year Facebook acquired local mobile analytics company Little Eye Labs)
“Things were different last year, both for Google and InMobi,” said the Economic Time’s unnamed source. “While Google was not facing the amount of heat it's witnessing today from Facebook on mobile, InMobi too was confident of raising another funding comfortably."
Not surprisingly, both Google and InMobi declined to comment on the report.