EMK buys stake in Luminati for nearly $200m

Hola CEO Ofer Vilenski

Founded by Israeli company Hola Networks, Netanya-based Luminati is an IP proxy network for businesses.

EMK Capital LLP today announced that it has agreed to acquire a majority shareholding in Luminati, the enterprise proxy network division of Hola Networks, at an enterprise value of $200m. The founders of Hola Networks will retain a significant stake in the company and Ofer Vilenski, co-Founder, will continue as CEO of Luminati. No precise details about the size of the stake was disclosed but sources close to the deal inform "Globes" that UK private equity investment firm EMK will hold a "large majority" stake, meaning an exit of well over $100 million.

The companies said, "EMK and the Luminati team will work together to grow Luminati and will continue to invest heavily in enhancing the customer experience and developing additional technologies and services."

Luminati is an IP proxy network for businesses. With a proprietary network of over 30 million residential IPs and large network of data centres, Luminati enables businesses to see the internet as real consumers do. The technology behind Luminati has been developed over 8 years.

Netanya based Hola Networks was founded by Ofer Vilenski and Derry Shribman who together earlier founded Jungo (acquired by NDS in 2006).

Vilenski said: “I am extremely proud of Hola’s team, which over 4 amazing years has grown Luminati from a technology, to a profitable, fast growing business. We believe that with EMK’s transformational growth experience, Luminati will reach the next level in its development, bringing transparency to commerce and data security.”

EMK managing partner Mark Joseph said: "EMK Capital is delighted to have agreed to acquire Luminati in partnership with its founders. The Luminati team led by Ofer Vilenski has built an innovative and fast growing business, which helps address some of the key challenges online businesses face today. We look forward to working closely with such a highly performing team to help take Luminati to the next stage of its growth.”

Horizons Ventures, DFJ Tamir Fishman, Trilogy Partners, DFJ, Magma Ventures, Iris Ventures, and others are selling their interests in Luminati as part of this transaction.

Both Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer and Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal served as legal advisor to EMK. CODE Advisors served as financial advisor and Naschitz, Brandes, Amir & Co., served as legal advisor to Hola Networks. Erdinast, Ben Nathan, Toledano & Co., served as legal advisor to Hola Networks' major investors.

Luminati helps make the Web more transparent by allowing businesses to see the internet from the consumers’ point of view. In the Internet’s early days, web pages were simple - every viewer saw the same page. Today, sites are dynamic - they recognize the viewer and show different content, advertisements and prices based on the viewers’ geography, demographics, and other identifying information. Websites can also determine if a competitor is comparing prices, or if a security company is auditing them for potential threats.

These trends are eliminating the transparency of the Web: for example, they reduce online retailers’ ability to compete as retailers can’t reliably see the prices that are presented to consumers; similarly these trends make it difficult for security firms to find malicious sites, as such sites are presented only to users of a certain demographic. These developments have also made it difficult for ad networks and website owners to check that the ads they are delivering are safe, because an unscrupulous ad vendor may present malicious ads only to the unsuspecting user but not to the ad network.

Luminati brings back transparency and trust to the Web by enabling its enterprise customers to access the internet through its proprietary network of over 40 million IP addresses. Luminati helps customers to see the Web as it appears to real consumers, without being blocked, slowed or spoofed and to view the Web from different users’ perspectives from any city across the globe. Luminati’s technology and patent portfolio allow Luminati to operate the only mass-scale residential IP proxy network in the world.

Luminati serves corporate clients, including Fortune 500 companies, in many different sectors which use Luminati’s transparency network for ad verification, brand protection, price comparison, fraud prevention, data collection, cyber security, and application performance measurement. Luminati’s residential IP service is required for many businesses that need certainty in the accuracy of the data they collect online and the accuracy of the cyber security checks they conduct.

Luminati‘s enterprise proxy solutions were separated from Hola in 2014. The Hola Networks group employs a unique model for rapid innovation - Hola Networks engineers and product managers develop technologies from Minimum Viable Products (MVP) to hugely profitable services, as was the case with Luminati. Hola will continue as a standalone company, growing its VPN and video CDN product lines, as well as other new fast growing initiatives.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 10, 2017

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017

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Hola CEO Ofer Vilenski
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