Verizon-owned AOL acquires mobile ad tech company Millennial Media for $238M


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AOL - Millennial Media

Three months after being acquired by U.S. telecoms giant Verizon, AOL has announced that it has bought mobile ad tech company Millennial Media.

The deal will cost AOL around $ 1.75 per share of Millennial Media’s common stock, which will amount to around $ 238 million in total once Millennial Media’s cash and debt are taking into account.

Founded out of Baltimore in 2006, Millennial Media was once considered a billion-dollar company after it first floated back in 2012, but in a mobile ad market dominated by big names such as Facebook, it has struggled to keep pace.

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AOL is one of the oldest Internet brands, synonymous with many of the Web’s early initiatives, including email and instant messaging. Having merged with Time Warner in 2001, AOL was spun out as an independent company in 2009 and headed in a new direction with a focus firmly on digital media.

It brought on well-known brands such as the Huffington Post, TechCrunch, and Engadget, and doubled-down on original video content and programmatic advertising technology. And this is why Verizon acquired AOL in June for $ 4.4 billion — it gave Verizon an easy way into the automated buying/selling of ads. And with Millennial Media on board, this will serve to deepen its reach into the mobile ad market.

Almost two-thirds of mobile ad spend is expected to be on programmatic ads in the U.S. by 2016, according to eMarketer data, amounting to $ 20 billion in total.

The Millennial Media deal, specifically, is indicative of the growing prominence of mobile for advertisers, with AOL adding that the deal will help its expedite its mobile ad offering in “key international markets,” including the U.K., Japan, Singapore, France, and Germany.

AOL Advertising gives third parties access to AOL’s digital advertising tools, and with Millennial Media on board, the company says that its ONE platform will be the “largest open and mobile-first programmatic platform” on the market.

Millennial Media will become a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL once the deal is complete, which is expected to happen later this year.

VB’s research team is studying web-personalization… Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.


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