Taboola merges with 'blank check' company, plots NYSE listing and IPO

The deal gives Taboola an “implied” valuation of $2.6 billion.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Taboola is set to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) through a merger with ION Acquisition Corp, a SPAC company.

The deal was announced on Monday and gives Taboola an "implied" valuation of $2.6 billion. 

Founded in 2007, New York-based Taboola is a marketing and revenue driver service for websites and apps seeking to monetize their content. The company caters to over 13,000 publishers that reach over 500 million users per day. 

ION Acquisition is a special purpose acquisition company. SPAC organizations, also known as 'blank check' shell companies, are used to raise funds on behalf of the acquired firm in order to launch an initial public offering (IPO) without going through the traditional process. 

SPACs can ensure that merged companies get on the stock market more quickly and with less expense, but they can also be a riskier prospect for investors.

The merger includes $259 million held in trust alongside a further $285 million raised from institutional investors who have agreed to purchase Taboola ordinary shares. Investors including Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, Baron Capital Group, accounts managed by BlackRock, and more have pledged private investment in public equity (PIPE) financing to make the company public. 

At closing, Taboola expects to hold $600 million in cash and cash equivalents.

The company says that the move to go public will release funds for growth, including $100 million earmarked for research into artificial intelligence (AI), e-commerce, and device manufacturer programs. 

Taboola has previously raised $160 million through Venture and Series A - E funding rounds. 

Under the NYSE, Taboola will trade under the ticker "TBLA."

"Taboola is embarking on an exciting new journey as a public company, a milestone only made possible by years of trusted partnerships with tens of thousands of digital properties and advertisers who I want to personally thank for believing in Taboola and me for years," commented Adam Singolda, Taboola founder and CEO. "Over the next 10 years I see Taboola growing to power recommendations for anything, such as e-commerce, games, applications, and I see those recommendations everywhere, on every device."

The board of directors for both Taboola and ION have approved the transaction. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory approval.

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