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August 23, 2016

The Colorful Story of Div Turakhia & the Media.Net Exit

On August 23, Dubai and New York-based ad-tech firm Media.net announced its acquisition by Chinese Consortium led by Zhiyong Zhang, the chairman of Beijing Miteno Communication Technology Co. Ltd, in an all-cash transaction valued at about USD 900 million. Promoted by serial entrepreneur Divyank Turakhia, Media.net reported revenues of USD 232 million in 2015. With seven offices worldwide, Media.net has more than 800 employees, up from 650 in 2015.

What is Media.net?

Media.net basically does for Yahoo, what Google's Adsense software does for the search giant.

Who is Div Turakhia?

The Media.net press release provides a short profile:
Div Turakhia has had several lucrative exits prior to this deal. In 2014, Endurance International Group (NASDAQ:EIGI) bought four brands that he co-founded with his brother, Bhavin Turakhia, for approximately $160M. Div Turakhia started his first internet business in 1996 at age 14, made his first $1M at 18, first $100M at 23, and now crossed his first $1B at the age of 34. 

A BackChannel article provides a much more colorful one:
After building a business to license ad-matching technology to domain publishers, he reached out to Yahoo. Carol Bartz was then the CEO of Yahoo. Div already had a relationship with Yahoo through an earlier business, and he offered to do for the company what AdSense did for Google — to build a network that would decide which ads were placed in a page’s ad spots, based on the subject matter of the web page that the user is reading.
Powered by the data Div had collected, his ad network did a better job of drawing an audience to Yahoo’s ads, pleasing its advertisers. The following year, Yahoo signed an exclusive deal with Div that prevented him from selling his company to Google, or working with the search giant. In exchange, Div had the right to call his company a Yahoo network. Media.net became so crucial to Yahoo’s business that the company considered buying it three times.
...Zhiyong Zhang, Chairman, Beijing Miteno Communication Technology saw opportunity in the company’s massive, profitable American ad business; Media.net reported $232 million in sales this year, more than half of which came from mobile ads and nearly all of which came from U.S. advertisers. More important, the company has developed technology that doesn’t yet exist in China, where the online advertising market is more nascent. This excites Div. He’ll continue to run businesses with his brother, but he will also run Media.net as part of Miteno and hopes, in the process, to learn more about how to build a business in China.
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