African-American billionaire Robert Smith has made a $1.4 billion investment, acquiring a majority stake in the web advertising platform TripleLift.
One of the largest ad-tech platforms worldwide, TripleLift signed a definitive agreement to receive a majority investment from Smith’s global investment firm, Vista Equity Partners, according to a press release.
“We have developed into a leader in the advertising technology space and are excited about our next chapter,” said Eric Berry, co-founder and CEO of TripleLift, in a statement. “When looking for an investment partner, we placed a premium on a deep understanding of ad tech and a willingness to lean into developing our portfolio of innovative, high-growth products. Vista is that partner.”
TripleLift was founded in 2012 by Ari Lewine. The company handled more than 40 trillion ad transactions across desktop, mobile, and connected TV in 2020, according to the press release.
TripleLift has “created unique value to an entire ecosystem of companies,” said Michael Fosnaugh, co-head of the Vista Flagship Fund and senior managing director.
Rod Aliabadi, managing director at Vista Equity Partners, added, “We look forward to continued market leadership in programmatic, further catalyzing our opportunity in CTV and building upon our expansion into priority international markets across Europe and Asia.”
Smith made headlines for pledging to pay $34 million in student debt for the entire historically Black Morehouse College graduating class of 2019. His net worth is about $7 billion, according to Forbes. Smith’s company, Vista Equity Partners, had more than $73 billion in assets under management as of Sept. 30, 2020.
In 2020, Smith avoided indictment in a multimillion-dollar tax case through a $140 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. In a non-prosecution agreement, Smith admitted he had committed tax evasion crimes and cooperated against a close business associate, Texas software mogul Robert T. Brockman, who was indicted in the largest tax-evasion case in U.S. history, Bloomberg reported
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