Outbrain plans IPO valued at $1 billion for 2014, hires first CFO

Outbrain, a startup that helps publishers like CNN and USA Today serve stories and ads to readers, will reportedly seek $200-$300 million from Wall Street in an initial public offering. The long-rumored IPO would be among the biggest in a parade of ad tech companies that have gone public in recent months.

The impending filing was reported by Israeli news sources, including Haaretz, which said Outbrain is seeking a valuation of $1 billion; other Israeli reports pegged the valuation at $700-800 million. Outbrain’s forecast revenue for 2013 is $130 million, a figure buttressed by recent acquisitions.

Update: the company has also hired its first CFO, Jeff Davison, who held the same post at publicly-traded RighNow Technologies.

Outbrain, which has its headquarters in New York, is run by Yaron Galai, a longtime ad tech veteran who sold his first company to AOL(s aol) for $340 million in 2004 while under fire in Gaza.

The company’s business model involves providing software to publishers that helps keep readers on their site by suggesting follow-up stories. Outbrain makes money by including ads among these suggested stories, and taking a cut of the revenue. Its primary competitor is Taboola, which recently raised $15 million and is now letting readers customize the ads and stories they see.

Outbrain, which wants to grab business from Google AdWords(s goog), is the biggest in a pack of companies — including nRelate and Disqus —  that vie to supply content recommendation services.