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AT&T Acquires Ad-Tech Company AppNexus

Bulking up its ad-tech toolkit, AT&T announced a deal to acquire AppNexus, which operates a global digital-advertising marketplace and related software.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. AT&T previously was in talks to pay about $1.6 billion for AppNexus, the Wall Street Journal reported. AppNexus had raised $320 million from investors including ad giant WPP, Tribeca Venture Partners, News Corp., TCV and Venrock.

The announcement comes less than two weeks after AT&T completed its takeover of Time Warner and forming WarnerMedia. With AppNexus, AT&T hopes to be better equipped to deliver online targeted advertising at scale, including ads for premium content from Time Warner. The ability to boost ad yields for Turner and Warner Bros. content was one of the key drivers of the Time Warner deal, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has said.

AT&T said it expects the deal to close during the third quarter of 2018, subject to customary closing conditions. AppNexus will become a part of AT&T’s advertising and analytics division, led by CEO Brian Lesser.

According to AppNexus, its marketplace is used by more than 34,000 publishers and 177,000 advertisers, which the company claims makes it the world’s largest independent marketplace for digital ads.

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AppNexus will be integrated across the AT&T advertising and analytics business, the telco said. The ad-tech capabilities will be used for AT&T’s ad-supported video content businesses, including Turner Networks, Audience Network and Otter Media.

Commenting on the pact, AppNexus CEO Brian O’Kelley (pictured above) said in a statement, “Combining AT&T’s incredible assets with our technology, we will help brands and marketers power new advertising experiences for consumers. It’s what the market is asking for, and together we’re poised to deliver it.”

New York-based AppNexus says it employs more than 400 software engineers and product managers.

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