Monotype announces acquisition of branded mobile content company Swyft Media
WOBURN, Mass. – February 2, 2015 — Monotype Imaging Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: TYPE), a leading provider of typefaces, technology and expertise for creative applications and consumer devices, has acquired Swyft Media, a successful startup that’s shaping the way brands and advertisers engage consumers with branded, mobile content. A market leader with nearly 300 notable brands having used its service to date, Swyft Media helps brands and advertisers drive increased and measurable engagement by delivering authentic, branded content that consumers want and love – such as digital stickers, emoticons and themes of favorite sports teams and entertainment personalities. According to research from Business Intelligence, at the end of 2014, nearly two billion people worldwide were using mobile messaging apps. By the end of 2015, messaging apps are expected to outpace the number of social media users, worldwide.
Swyft Media’s expertise in the emerging world of branded, in-app mobile messaging content is expected to help Monotype reach a new set of customers, with an opportunity to add value by including some of the world’s largest and most popular collections of fonts. The Swyft Media mobile engagement platform has disrupted traditional online advertising by providing brands and advertisers with a more creative and effective way to engage and monetize branded content, reach a vast audience with their message, and make it feel like an unobtrusive, natural part of the mobile messaging experience.
Brands can also take advantage of Swyft Media’s retail channel, which allows consumers to personalize texts with authentic, branded content like stickers, emoticons and themes. While users benefit from creative ways to self express, brands benefit from reaching millions of consumers and monetizing branded content that people want to use and share with their friends. Branded digital stickers, for example, are becoming an important revenue stream for messaging apps, where users share the stickers with friends while texting. Swyft has developed sticker campaigns for brands like Sony, MGM, SEGA, Dreamworks and Hearst among others.
“We’re excited to welcome Swyft Media to Monotype. The acquisition provides us with a significant opportunity to move down market and serve the explosive numbers of consumers across the globe who are hungry for new and unique ways to express themselves in messaging apps – with millennials at the heart of that movement and our fonts an important part of that self-expression,” said Doug Shaw, president and CEO of Monotype. “Swyft Media’s expertise and proven success helping brands and advertisers connect and engage with consumers in ways that deliver immediate results were very appealing to Monotype, as we look at new ways to grow our business.”
Major brands such as Sony, MGM, Sega, Dreamworks, Miller, Fox, Miramax and NBCUniversal are Swyft Media customers. The company also currently partners with leading mobile messaging platforms like BBM, BAND, Kik, Kakao Talk, Renren, TextPlus and Viber.
“People love mobile messaging because it’s content-driven, free and personal. Brands have struggled to capitalize on this channel because direct messages from companies have often felt like an intrusion, rather than something cool or interesting,” said Evan Wray, vice president of Swyft Media, a Monotype subsidiary. “Swyft Media has created a fun, effective and measurable way for brands to reach consumers with personalized content that both delivers a brand message and makes the consumer happy. We’re thrilled to be part of Monotype and look forward to combining our expertise to provide brands with even more compelling ways to grab consumers’ attention.”
Monotype acquired the privately held Swyft Media, via a merger transaction, for approximately $12 million. The transaction also includes an opportunity for the Swyft Media shareholders to realize up to $15 million in additional consideration based on attainment of certain performance criteria through 2017. In addition, inducement awards of approximately $1.5 million in restricted common stock of Monotype Imaging Holdings Inc. that vest on the fourth anniversary of the transaction have been granted in connected with the transaction. The transaction is subject to typical purchase price adjustments. All 10 employees, including cofounders Evan Wray and Sean O’Brien, are expected to join Monotype and will work from Monotype’s office in New York City.
In 2015, Monotype expects Swyft Media to generate approximately $3.0 million in revenue, including approximately $(2.2) million in net adjusted EBITDA, which includes approximately $0.7 million in acquisition and integration costs.