Taboola and Outbrain called off their plan to merge — here's what happened to the proposed $2 billion company

Hi! Welcome to the Insider Advertising daily for September 10. I'm Lauren Johnson, a senior advertising reporter at Business Insider. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every weekday. Send me feedback or tips at [email protected]

Today's news: What happened to the Taboola and Outbrain merger, Under Armour layoffs, and inside Spotify's bet on podcasts.

(L-R) Cofounder and co-CEO of Outbrain Yaron Galai and founder and CEO of Taboola Adam SingoldaNoam Galai/Getty Images

How Taboola and Outbrain's plan to create a $2 billion clickbait company fell apart

  • After announcing a deal to merge last year, the two biggest and longtime rivals content-recommendation companies, Taboola and Outbrain, are calling off the deal.
  • But the deal was hampered by regulatory hurdles, the pandemic-induced economic downturn, and cultural differences that were laid bare by the downturn, reports Lucia Moses. Taboola also changed the terms of its offer, unwilling to pay the $250 million in cash it originally offered. 
  • New competition in the space could also pose a threat to Outbrain and Taboola like Verizon Media and Connatix. Verizon Media recently won Fox News, a former Taboola client, over to its native ad product.

Read the full story here.

Under Armour CEO Patrik FriskOlivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Read the memo where Under Armour's CEO lays out how the company is pivoting to a DTC model and laying off 600 in the process

  • Sporting-goods giant Under Armour plans to lay off hundreds of its employees after a rough few months of sales, according to a memo obtained by Patrick Coffee.
  • Under Armour reported a 40% drop in sales during the second quarter and said in April that it would furlough 6,600 employees at retail stores and distribution centers.
  • An Under Armour employee with direct knowledge of the situation said this week's layoffs included executives up to the VP level and followed months of delays.

Read the full story here.

Spotify's content boss explains her strategy to shake up the podcasting industry, from exclusive deals with the Obamas and Joe Rogan to ad-tech innovations

  • Ashley Rodriguez profiled Dawn Ostroff, Spotify's chief content and advertising business officer, who is driving the strategy behind Spotify's expansion into podcasts.
  • Spotify has inked deals with Barack and Michelle Obama, Joe Rogan, Kim Kardashian, and DC Comics. The company has also acquired podcast companies like Anchor, Gimlet, Parcast, and The Ringer.
  • Spotify's ad business grew 25% in 2019 with podcast advertising. During the second quarter of 2020, Spotify said ad revenue fell 21% year over year due to the coronavirus.

Read the full story here.

More stories we're reading:

  • Two location-based marketing firms are combining to help marketers navigate the growing scrutiny over consumer tracking (Business Insider)
  • 'Mulan' viewership data from connected TVs provide a snapshot of how much money it made in its first weekend on Disney Plus (Business Insider)
  • The maker of Miller Lite and Coors Light are betting on non-alcoholic beverage growth with its release of probiotic seltzer and barley milk (Business Insider)
  • 7 criteria TikTok's algorithms look for and how brands can make sure their videos reach the widest audience possible (Business Insider)
  • IAB names David Cohen as new CEO; Randall Rothenberg moves to exec chair role (AdExchanger)
  • Sprinklr valued at $2.7 billion with Hellman & Friedman funding (Bloomberg)
  • Vice Media selects a Facebook executive to lead Refinery29 (New York Times)

Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow! You can reach me in the meantime at [email protected] and subscribe to this daily email here.

— Lauren

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