TNL Mediagene, an Asian digital-media company, and Blue Ocean Acquisition Corp, a special purpose acquisition company, have announced a definitive agreement for a business combination that is expected to result in TNL Mediagene becoming a publicly traded company in the United States.

Blue Ocean Acquisition said in a statement that the combined company will build TNL Mediagene’s presence in Japan, Taiwan and Southeast Asia, delivering high-quality, politically neutral content on news, business, technology, science, sports, food and lifestyles.

It will expand its brand portfolio of millennial- and Gen Z-targeted Chinese, Japanese and English digital products and widen the reach of its artificial intelligence (AI)-driven analytics, advertising and marketing technology products.

Pursuant to the business combination agreement for the transaction, Blue Ocean will merge with a wholly owned subsidiary of TNL Mediagene with Blue Ocean surviving the merger as a wholly owned subsidiary of TNL Mediagene (the “Merger”), and TNL Mediagene becoming a publicly listed company on the NASDAQ.

The transaction gives TNL Mediagene a pre-money enterprise value of approximately $275 million.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024.

“We are perfectly positioned to serve younger audiences in the world’s most dynamic region with products that are built just for them,” said Joey Chung, the company’s Chief Executive and Co-Founder.

“We are independent of existing media groups, determined to preserve our independence and focused on using technology to deliver the right content to our audiences and customers at the right time in the format that they want it,” he added.

TNL Mediagene was formed in May 2023 by the merger of Taipei-based The News Lens Co. (TNL), which through rapid growth and strategic acquisitions over the last decade has become a leading independent, pan-Asian digital-media group, and Tokyo-based Mediagene Inc. (MG), Japan’s leading digital media company, which was founded 25 years ago.

Combined, measured by Google Analytics, the group’s brands reach an average of more than 50 million users each month.

TNL Mediagene has 550 employees across Asia, with offices in Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

“By combining forces, TNL and Mediagene have created a first-class, pan-Asian digital-media group,” Mediagene Chief Executive Officer and Founder Motoko Imada said.

“By becoming a public company in the United States, we would also like to continue to grow with the support of international investors, with the goal of becoming a media company that connects the world by providing reliable information about Asia, including Japan, to the rest of the world,” he said.

Richard Leggett, Blue Ocean’s chief executive, said this transaction brings together the dramatic growth stories already written by TNL and Mediagene, offering best-in class regional content with powerful AI-powered MarTech and AdTech that positions the group to succeed in one of the world’s fastest growing regions.

Blue Ocean itself was founded and is run by investors with deep media, operating, investing and international experience and is backed in part by North Base Media (NBM), a global media-focused venture-capital firm.

NBM is a small, minority shareholder of TNL Mediagene.

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