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Can AT&T + TimeWarner + AppNexus Win Against Google and Facebook?

So much for independence, says AppNexus.

AppNexus used to call itself “the world’s leading independent advertising technology company,” but soon it will call itself the newest part of the AT&T empire. AT&T announced today it will buy the company for an undisclosed sum—which the Wall Street Journal pegged at $1.6 billion. AppNexus operates as both a demand-side platform (DSP) and supply-side platform (SSP), providing real-time bidding for programmatic advertising. The company is based in New York City and employs over 400 software engineers and product managers.

AppNexusFollowing the acquisition, which AT&T expects to close in the third quarter of this year, AppNexus will become part of AT&T Advertising and Analytics. With this purchase, AT&T expects to grow its advertising platform for advanced TV sales, creating an offering that can compete with Google and Facebook. AppNexus says it’s used by 34,000 publishers and 177,000 brands.

“Ad tech unites real-time analytics and technology with our premium TV and video content, so, we went out and found the strongest player in the space,” says Brian Lesser, CEO of AT&T Advertising and Analytics. “AppNexus has scale of infrastructure, advanced technology, and diverse talent. The combination of AT&T Advertising and Analytics and AppNexus will help deliver a world-class advertising platform that provides brands and publishers a new and innovative way to reach consumers in the marketplace today.”

Once acquired, the company will be able to take advantage of AT&T’s first-party data, gaining access to over 170 million direct-to-consumer relationships. AT&T’s video portfolio includes Turner Networks, Audience Network, and Otter Media.

Today’s news comes less than a month after AT&T acquired Time Warner Inc. for $85 billion.

“Think of this as buying a sofa to furnish the new house (Time Warner) they just bought,” said Moffett Nathanson analyst Craig Moffett, quoted by Reuters.

Founded in 2007, AppNexus has raised roughly $344 million from investors, Tech Crunch reports, including News Corp, WPP, Fidelity, TCV, Deutsche Telecom, Microsoft, and others.


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