Div Turakhia has just become a billionaire

The year was 2011. Carol Bartz was then CEO of Yahoo. Div had a relationship with Yahoo through a previous business and he offered to do with the company what AdSense did for Google – building a network that could decide which ads to place in the positions. the ad position of the page, based on the topic of the website the user is reading. “They said, ‘we tried it. It was difficult, ”recalls Div. “We said, ‘let’s check it anyway. Backed by the data Div has collected, his ad network has done a better job of attracting audiences to Yahoo ads, delighting 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 return, Div has the right to call his company the Yahoo network.

Media.net has become so important until June that the company has considered acquiring it three times, according to Mel Guymon, Yahoo’s vice president of search products. Guymon spearheaded the first of three attempts in early 2013, shortly after he came from Google. However, not everyone agrees with this agreement. In previous years as a Yahoo partner, Div has been known to be an aggressive negotiator. Agreement stalled.

The second attempt was in early 2015. Media.Net’s search segment is expanding, while Yahoo’s core business continues to struggle. This deal was killed again when Yahoo decided to significantly cut overseas development staff; Most of Media.net’s employees are in India. The last effort came at the end of 2015. Yahoo was in a cost-cutting mode, and the deal didn’t exist.

That year, Div was serious about selling Media.net. He hired bankers and made profits from private equity funds in the United States and Europe, but their offer seemed bland compared to interest rates and offers from Chinese companies. . He was accompanied by Zhiyong Zhang, president of telecommunications equipment company Beijing Miteno Communication Technology, who raised money to buy Media.net through a corporation. Pending regulatory approval, Miteno plans to buy it from the corporation. (The technical term for this process is “massive asset restructuring”.)

Zhang saw an opportunity in the company’s giant, profitable US advertising business; Media.net reported $ 232 million in revenue this year, more than half of which came from mobile ads, and nearly all of it came from US advertisers. More importantly, the company developed technology that didn’t exist in China, where the new online advertising market was born. This stimulates Div. He will continue to run the business with his brother, but he will also run Media.net as part of Miteno and hopefully, in the process, will learn more about how to build a business. industry in China.

When the Div was in San Francisco, he lives in a three-story house on top of the Russian Hill. To the west, the waterfall is so steep that sidewalks give way to the stairs leading down the bay. I visited one day in early July, and he offered to take me to drive.

It was a typical Div. On Monday, he flew from Dubai to Seattle, with the chief technology officer and chief executive officer of Media.net. A car takes them to Bellevue, where they’re checking out the Infospace. “We had an auction,” Div said as we headed to the garage where his Ferrari was parked. “They told us they needed us to pay a certain price and we wanted to complete the appraisal.”

If you’re a fan of Internet history, you probably remember Infospace, the company founded by former Microsoft CEO Naveen Jain. At the height of its boom in ’00, it was valued at $ 31 billion. But earlier this year, it had grown to become the shrinking search engine business of financial services firm Blucora. This is exactly the form of acquisitions Div is interested in, who said: “Every business is valuable. And it’s reasonable to buy almost anything if the price is right. But while it’s a good philosophy, it’s only profitable when the price is right. Div was unable to reach reasonable terms with Blucora executives, so he turned it over.

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