12 June 2018
Following an unanticipated threat from Google earlier this year to remove Unlockd’s apps from the Google Play Store ecosystem and deny access to its ad server Admob, Unlockd was forced to place its planned ASX IPO on hold and take a stand to protect the business, shareholders, partners and importantly 330,000 monthly users to whom this action would cause irreparable harm and disruption.
We have since received significant judgements from both the English High Court and the Federal Court of Australia granting Unlockd interim injunctions to prevent Google from disabling AdMob-generated advertising content and removing Unlockd apps from the Google Play Store in the UK, Europe and Australia. This was recognition by the Courts that there is a serious issue to be tried.
Despite this, the ramifications of Google’s actions have had and continue to have a deep impact on the business when considering the valuation of Unlockd prior to these threats and the postponement of the planned IPO, which would have fueled the continued growth and expansion of the business. As such, we have not been able to secure the capital we had expected to replace the IPO and therefore have been left no choice but to move into voluntary administration.
Unlockd launched in 2016 with a clear vision to change the way people use and pay with their digital devices. It is now a revolutionary platform that is fundamentally changing the way that people interact with the world of advertising, by returning value to users in exchange for their attention in a way that Google and other big tech companies do not. We believe that Google’s conduct and the effect of its actions represents a further example by them of anti-competitive conduct toward innovative start-ups such as Unlockd, that might pose a future threat to their position in the market.
Until wide reaching change is brought about to prevent companies like Google from abusing their dominant market positions, consumers and innovation will continue to suffer.
Unlockd’s Board of Directors and management are now working with administrators to decide on the best path forward for the business and continue to assess current discussions regarding investment and potential acquisition.