ru-Net, the Internet investment company acquired a 51% controlling stake in iConText, a leading Russian contextual advertising agency, reported business daily Vedomosti. According to expert estimates, the deal could be valued at ca. $7 million. Having accounted for 7% of Russian contextual advertising spending of $210 million in 2007, iConText could have had billings of $14 million and revenues of $4 million in 2007
iConText was founded in 2002 by its CEO, Maria Chernitskaya and Lev Gleizer (AdWatch founder). The company offers contextual advertising campaigns in Yandex, Google, and Begun (majority owned by Rambler) via its own single interface SmartContext as well as site audit and search engine optimization services. Its clients include HP, Raiffeisen Bank, Ford, and Peugeut.
The Russian contextual advertising spending is forecasted to grow to over $400 million in 2008 of which iConText is expected to account for 8% – 9% share.
ru-Net is a successor of ru-Net Holdings. The certain ru-Net investors are direct shareholders in Ozon, Yandex (through former ru-Net Holdings), Sistematika, and Epam.