Private equity, Distributed Workforce, Content

Thoma Bravo-IronSource: SPAC, Mobile App Merger Confirmed

Credit: Thoma Bravo

Thoma Bravo Advantage, the private equity firm's Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC), will take IronSource public through a merger, the companies have confirmed. The deal values ironSource at a pro forma equity value of $11.1 billion,

Thoma Bravo already owns and/or backs such MSP-focused technology and software businesses as BarracudaConnectWiseSolarWinds and Sophos, among many others. More recently, the private equity firm in March 2021 acquired data analysis software provider Talend for $2.4 billion.

Related: Technology SPACs List

IronSource Mobile App Technology Background

Meanwhile, IronSource is a mobile marketing technology company that allows game and app developers to more effectively monetize their applications. IronSource itself has been in acquisition mode, buying video ad expert Luna Labs in February 2021, and mobile advertising specialist SOOMLA in January 2021.

Existing IronSource financial backers include private equity firm CVC Funds, which invested $400 million to acquire a minority stake in the company in 2019. At the time of the CVC investment, IronSource described its business as "profitable from almost day one" and on track to generate $1 billion in revenue for 2019.

The IronSource partner ecosystem includes software, app and game developers; telecom operators; and mobile device original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The company focuses on developing technologies for app monetization and distribution, IronSource indicated in 2019.

IronSource revenue was $332 million in 2020, up 83 percent from 2019. Also, the company has adjusted EBITDA of $104 million in 2020.

Thoma Bravo Advantage & ironSource Merger: Executive Perspectives

In a statement about the deal, Tomer Bar Zeev, CEO and co-founder of ironSource, said:

"Joining forces with Thoma Bravo Advantage to bring ironSource to the public markets presents an opportunity to partner with the world's leading software investor to achieve the next level of growth. Despite our previous progress pursuing a traditional IPO, when we met with Thoma Bravo Advantage we found an alignment of vision and shared conviction about the long-term growth we can drive at ironSource that made them the perfect partner as we take this next step in growing our company, and the market as a whole."

Added Orlando Bravo, chairman of Thoma Bravo Advantage, added:

"As one of the fastest-growing and most innovative platforms for building and scaling businesses in the app economy, ironSource is well-positioned for continued success as a public company. With a full suite of solutions across the app growth life cycle – and a unique combination of scale, business growth, and profitability – we expect ironSource to further its market leadership position as a public company. We look forward to partnering closely with Tomer and the talented ironSource team in this exciting next chapter for the company."

Concluded Robert (Tre) Sayle, CEO of Thoma Bravo Advantage:

"ironSource is a one-of-a-kind software company that combines an innovative, high-growth franchise with a deeply experienced management team that has a track record of success in a rapidly expanding market. We are thrilled to be partnering with ironSource as it enters the public markets and to be able to provide Thoma Bravo's deep software expertise and financial support to the company as it continues its growth journey."

Thoma Bravo Advantage: IPO and SPAC Background

Thoma Bravo Advantage, a blank check company, completed an IPO in January 2021. A December 2020 filing with the SEC indicated that Thoma Bravo Advantage was looking to acquire a privately held software company that has a strong management team, reasonable valuation, predictable recurring revenues and products that compete in a highly fragmented market segment.

A SPAC or “blank check” company is designed to raise funds in an initial public offering (IPO) with the aim of acquiring a private business. That private company then becomes public as result of the merger, Reuters notes.

The SPAC trend helped to fuel $63 billion of IPO fundraising worldwide in January 2021, more than five times the proceeds from the same period a year earlier, Bloomberg reports.

Still, some pundits believe we’re heading toward a SPAC bubble — which involves too much money potentially flowing to lower-quality companies that perhaps shouldn’t be publicly held.

Blog originally published March 15. Updated March 21 with deal confirmation from Thoma Bravo Advantage and IronSource.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.