Taboola under U.S. Department of Justice investigation for HR activities
The digital advertising platform revealed in an SEC filing that it became aware last month that the Antitrust Division of the U.S. DOJ is conducting a criminal investigation related to its hiring actions
Israeli digital advertising platform Taboola has revealed in its Form F-4 filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over the past weekend that it is under investigation by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice as part of a criminal investigation of hiring activities in the digital advertising industry.
Taboola wrote in the filing, which it was required to submit ahead of its merger with SPAC ION Acquisition Corp 1 Ltd., that "in April 2021, we became aware that the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting a criminal investigation of hiring activities in our industry, including us. We are cooperating with the Antitrust Division. While there can be no assurances as to the ultimate outcome, we do not believe that our conduct violated applicable law."
Taboola didn't elaborate further in the filing and the company refused to comment on the matter.
Taboola CEO Adam Singolda (left) and DOJ Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard A. Powers. Photo: Matthew T. Nichols, David Pexton
Taboola signed a deal to merge with ION Asset Management's special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in January of this year at a $2.6 billion valuation. ION Acquisition Corp 1 Ltd. raised $259 million in its initial public offering on NYSE last October.
Taboola, which is active in the content recommendation space, was founded by Adam Singolda in 2007. The company works with media companies and international publishers, competing with Google and Facebook. In Taboola’s market, ad revenues are split between the publishers and the content recommendation companies, which receive 30% of the income.
Taboola recorded a revenue of $1.2 billion in 2020 and was left with $382.2 million after the publishers got their cut, representing a 29% increase compared to 2019. Its Adjusted EBITDA in 2020 was $106 million, compared to $34 million in 2019.