AT&T To Acquire AppNexus To Establish Foothold In Digital Ad Sales


AT&T confirmed reports on Monday that it plans to buy advertising technology company AppNexus in a deal that will propel the growth of the carrier's advertising platform and combine ad technology with AT&T's content portfolio.

AppNexus today offers a global advertising marketplace and provides enterprise products for digital advertising for publishers, agencies and marketers. Together, AT&T hopes to strengthen its TV advertising strategy.

The Dallas-based carrier said AppNexus will become a part of AT&T advertising and analytics, led by the business unit's CEO, Brian Lesser. The two companies have not disclosed financial details of the transaction, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018, AT&T said.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: In Time Warner Megamerger Aftermath, AT&T Is Adding DirecTV To Partner Exchange Program ]

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The Wall Street Journal reported last week that AT&T was planning to offer $1.6 billion for AppNexus.

AT&T said that AppNexus' technology will integrate with the carrier's premium video content and distribution platforms. The technology will also help to extend AT&T's advertising and analytics footprint globally into Asia-Pacific, Australia, Europe, and Latin America.

For AT&T, the latest acquisition comes on the heels of closing its $85.4 billion Time Warner deal , which gave the carrier TV channels and programing such as HBO, CNN, TNT, TBS and Warner Bros.

’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," Lesser said in a statement regarding the proposed deal. "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.’

Brian O’Kelley, AppNexus' CEO, said the deal will merge its technology and AT&T’s content assets to help brands and marketers power new advertising experiences for consumers.

AT&T said it has more than 170 million direct-to-consumer relationships across its wireless, video and broadband businesses.

The companies said the AppNexus team of more than 400 software engineers and product managers will join AT&T, bringing their vertical expertise in machine learning and predictive analytics, advertising technology and video.