Taboola, the provider of digital ad space that frequently appears at the bottom of websites, is making its way to the stock exchange. The company announced Monday that it will do so via the preferred going-public vehicle of our age: a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
Taboola's current business will be parked into the SPAC, an existing stock called ION Acquisition Corp 1 Ltd. (NYSE:IACA), thus becoming a publicly traded company.
The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter, Taboola said. The resulting entity will do business under the current name, and its ticker symbol should change to TBLA.
Taboola said that its merger with ION would bring in total proceeds of $545 million, between the funds held in trust by ION and investments by third parties. According to Taboola, this values the merged entity at around $2.6 billion. The company said it would devote over $100 million to research and develop growth opportunities. It did not provide details about other spending targets.
As a privately held business, Taboola does not provide a great amount of detail about its finances. In the going-public announcement on its website, it said that its revenue, excluding traffic acquisition costs, was $379 million in 2020. Operating profit came in at $34 million, and adjusted EBITDA (earnings before income, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) topped $100 million. A bottom-line figure was not provided.
In its words, Taboola "enables digital property owners to harness the value of AI-driven recommendations and offers advertisers a way to effectively access users in the open web."
It estimates the scope of what it describes as "the highly fragmented advertising market in the open web" to have been around $64 billion last year.