Robert F. Smith, regarded as the richest Black man in America, has acquired majority ownership of advertising platform TripleLift, expanding his investment portfolio in multiple businesses.
The African-American billionaire made a $1.4 billion investment in acquiring a majority stake in the web advertising platform, according to Moguldom.
Smith closed the deal, which is expected to come into fruition in the second quarter of 2021, through his global investment firm, Vista Equity Partners, a press release said.
Vista Equity focuses on enterprise software, data, and technology-enabled businesses and is expected to help drive further innovation across TripleLift and accelerate global growth.
“We have developed into a leader in the advertising technology space and are excited about our next chapter,” co-founder and CEO of TripleLift Eric Berry said. “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.”
Smith’s Vista Equity Partners, a private equity company he founded in 2000, has carved a niche for itself, fixing up enterprise software outfits. Today, it has a value of about $50 billion in assets and it is also regarded as one of the best-performing private equity firms.
“Vista is pleased to partner with TripleLift and we have a tremendous runway for growth,” said Rod Aliabadi, Managing Director at Vista Equity Partners. “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.”
According to the press release, after the close of the transaction, Eric Berry will remain as CEO and will continue serving on the Board of Directors. True Ventures and Edison Partners, two early investors in TripleLift, will remain invested in the company, the statement added.
Founded in 2012 by Ari Lewine, TripleLift has handled more than 40 trillion ad transactions across desktop, mobile, and connected TV in 2020, the press release said.
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.
Smith trended in 2019 when he paid off the student debts of Morehouse’s graduating class. He subsequently donated $50 million in 2020 to ease the burden of students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Records show that HBCU students do borrow loans at higher rates than students at other types of institutions. Also, on average, Black college students graduate from bachelor’s degree programs owing $7,400 more than their white peers.
The businessman with a bias for educational and entrepreneurship development is among a growing number of high-net-worth Black personalities who are using their wealth to improve society.