Clickbait giant Outbrain files for I.P.O.

Outbrain, one of the top purveyors of clickbait ads, filed on Tuesday to raise at least $100 million through an initial public offering — one day before its top competitor starts trading publicly.

The company, which calls itself a content recommendation platform, places so-called chumbox ads on websites, hoping to lure readers the way anglers use pieces of dead fish to lure other fish. It had $767 million in revenue last year and $4.4 million in net income, Outbrain said in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company said it had yet to determine a price range, valuation or offering price, and will aim to raise more than $100 million.

Founded in 2006, Outbrain says it funnels ads to more than 7,000 digital destinations, paying sites like CNN, Der Spiegel and Le Monde whenever users click on the ads. More than 20,000 advertisers use its platform, according to the company.

In 2019, Outbrain planned to combine with its chief rival, Taboola, but the arrangement disintegrated last fall. Taboola said this year that it would go public by merging instead with a so-called special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. It is set to start trading on the Nasdaq exchange on Wednesday.

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