By now, everyone knows that Apple recently agreed to plunk down $275 million for mobile ad startup Quattro Wireless.
The deal comes less than two months after Google snatched up AdMob, a Quattro competitor that, like Quattro, was formed in late 2006 and, like Quattro, had once had acquisition discussions with Apple — reportedly fairly involved ones at that. (Unsurprisingly, the $750 million in stock that Google put on the table was a little too rich for AdMob to resist.)
What might interest followers of the mobile ad industry is that Quattro, which had raised just under $30 million over three rounds, was in the market for another $10 million to $15 million as recently as early November. The reason: while the mobile market opportunity is huge, Quattro was slated to see just $18 million in revenue in 2009, with a revenue target of $36 million in 2010. (This according to a trusted source who met with the company recently but, sadly, I didn’t see until today.)
Whether Apple overpaid in a rush to play catch-up with its nemesis or its deal will prove smarter in the long run remains to be seen, but the figures add a new dimension to the transaction. They also make Quattro’s purchase price seem even sweeter for its backers, Highland Capital and Globespan Capital Partners.