Lost-item tracker company Tile, which competes with Apple's AirTag is being acquired by family communication service Life360. The deal is valued at $205 million and will see Tile continue to be led as its own brand under its existing CEO CJ Prober. The company says no further changes to the Tile team are currently planned and Prober will also now join the Life360 board of directors.
This is the second recent hardware acquisition for Life360, which earlier this year acquired the location device maker Jiobit for $37 million. The company then said its goal was to expand its family tracking capabilities beyond those who have smartphones capable of running its app -- smaller children, children with special needs, and pets, for example.
In the case of Tile, however, the company says it sees the potential in expanding its business beyond family tracking to become a broader solution for finding "the people, pets, and things" that families care most about. The company envisions a combined service that offers a unified platform where users can track their family members and stay in touch, but also keep track of their items -- like wallets, keys, remote controls and more -- using Tile's location-based finding capabilities.
Tile also has partnerships with over 50 different third-party devices, from wireless earbuds to laptops to dog collars, which also make the deal more valuable. And it runs the sizable "Tile Finding Network," which taps into its install base of Tile owners who run the Tile mobile app to locate items when they're out of Bluetooth range. To date, Tile has sold over 40 million devices and has over 425,000 paying customers, but hadn't disclosed its total number of active users.
Life360 says the addition of its 33 million smartphone users is expected to increase the reach of Tile's Finding Network by 10x.
"This acquisition marks a key step forward towards Life360 achieving its vision of being the world’s leading platform for safety and location services. We are thrilled to welcome Tile to the Life 360 family," noted Chris Hulls, Co-Founder and CEO of Life360, in a statement.
Ahead of this news, Tile in September announced a $40 million debt round of financing which Prober had said made sense because it's good to have a mix of "debt and equity" on the books, as the debt "doesn't incur dilution to our shareholders." But there's no doubt Tile's future was threatened since the launch of the Apple AirTag -- the company went on to be a staunch Apple critic over antitrust issues and even testified before lawmakers about the impacts Apple was having on its business.
Tile also recently revamped its product line, including its upcoming AirTag rival powered by ultra-wideband, in the hopes of remaining competitive.
Both companies have some commonalities in that their approach is to be platform-agnostic, working across iOS and Android devices alike -- the latter which could aid with international expansion efforts, as Android dominates in many global markets.
Following the deal, Life360 will have access to consumers in over 27,000 retail stores where Tiles are sold and the over one million third-party devices which has Tile's technology built in. Both companies also offer premium subscription services, and Life360 expects to now expand its paid subscriber base by 45% to around 1.6 million people. In the future, a combined offering could help convert more free users to paying customers, the companies likely hope.
Life360 has been listed on the Australian Securities Exchange since 2019 and had previously announced plans for a potential dual listing in the U.S. in 2022. This deal will add momentum to that goal, Life360 said.
Credit Suisse and Code Advisors acted as Life360’s joint financial advisers on the deal. DLA Piper and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP acted as Life360’s legal advisers, the company reported. Jefferies LLC served as exclusive financial adviser to Tile and Fenwick and West LLP served as Tile’s legal adviser.
"This is a great day for Tile, our customers, and our employees,” said CJ Prober, CEO of Tile, in a statement. "This acquisition not only brings together two incredible teams with complementary missions and values, it paves the way for us to jointly build the world’s leading solutions for peace of mind and safety. This is the next step in our journey, and I could not be more excited to continue leading our incredible team and to join the Life360 Board," he said.