After a tumultuous few weeks, the Kik app has officially been acquired by US-based holding company MediaLab. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Kik made the announcement in a blog post, stating that a deal had been made between Kik Interactive and MediaLab to acquire the Kik Messenger app. The news comes just one day before the app was set to shut down.
The blog post noted that MediaLab plans to keep the app alive and also outlines ideas it has to improve the app moving forward. It is noted that the acquiring company plans to partner with Kik CEO Ted Livingston and the remaining 19 team members and is still dedicated to expanding the Kin integration.
Nine years ago Kik went live. Since then hundreds of millions of people have had billions of meaningful conversations. I am excited that our amazing users will continue to have a great home, and that Kik will continue to grow and evolve as a pillar of the Kin Ecosystem. Onward! https://t.co/EQzbaMi1Np
— Ted Livingston (@ted_livingston) October 18, 2019
“Ted Livingston and the rest of the team at Kik have spent the last nine years building something truly special,” the blog post stated. “At the risk of sounding cheesy, we are still passionate believers in what the internet promised to bring in its early days – a connected and shared experience amongst people regardless of geography or time zone. Kik is one of those amazing places that brings us back to those early aspirations.”
MediaLab is a Santa Monica-based holding company that was founded in 2018. It holds a number of other “internet brands” and had previously acquired anonymous app Whisper, which had befallen similar financial woes as Kik.
MediaLab stated that it has a long term commitment to Kik and seeing the app succeed, but also noted the urgent need to cover expenses. The blog post stated that in the coming weeks ads will be introduced to Kik Messenger. The holding company acknowledged that some Kik users may not like this idea, but stated plans to bring in the ads in a “non-intrusive” way that “in no way takes away from what makes Kik great.” “No annoying full screen video takeovers or things like that,” the blog post stated.
The decision to bring in ads to the messenger app is something Livingston had spoken out against in years past and one of the stated reasons for moving into the cryptocurrency space in order to monetize.
Other changes MediaLab plans to make to the app include pulling back features it said were not optimized. Kik’s video chat toggle and third party bots platform will be discontinued, with MediaLab noting that it wants to eradicate spam bots and unwanted messages. It also stated it will update the app’s software to make it faster, more reliable, and “less buggy.”
“While we’re really excited about all the potential, we promise to never lose sight of what makes Kik special,” were the closing remarks in the blog. “We don’t plan on screwing it up but just in case we’re veering off course, we’re counting on all of you to keep us honest so don’t hesitate to reach out.”
The finalization of the Kik app acquisition comes just one day after it was announced that San Francisco-headquartered company Carta had acquired Kik’s Kitchener-Waterloo office and 51 former Kik employees. Livingston told BetaKit at the time that Kik worked hard to find the win-win.
BetaKit has reached out to Kik for comment.