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AT&T Acquiring AppNexus to Grow Addressable TV Advertising

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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 AppNexus 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.

Following 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. 

“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.”

AppNexus will be able to take advantage of AT&T's first-party data post-acquisition, 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.

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