AT&T has reached an agreement to buy the digital ad platform and global advertising marketplace AppNexus, the companies said. Financial terms were not disclosed; however, last week The Wall Street Journal reported the companies were in talks for a deal valued at about $1.6 billion.
The transaction omes less than a month after AT&T closed its $85 billion deal for Time Warner. After closing, AppNexus will become part of AT&T advertising & analytics, which is led by Chief Executive Brian Lesser.
“Ad tech unites real-time analytics and technology with our premium TV and video content,” said Lesser. “So, we went out and found the strongest player in the space.”
AT&T said it will continue to invest in and build on AppNexus’ technology. The company has more than 400 software engineers and expertise in machine learning and predictive analytics; advertising technology; and video. AT&T said it has more than 170 million direct-to-consumer relationships across its wireless, video, and broadband businesses.
“Innovation is core to the heritage of both AT&T and AppNexus, and we have an exciting opportunity to chart the future course of advertising together,” AppNexus CEO Brian O’Kelley said.
The acquisition is seen as an effort by AT&T to better compete with Google and Facebook in online advertising. It also extends AT&T’s footprint into Asia-Pacific, Australia, Europe, and Latin America and adds to AT&T’s ad-supported premium video content portfolio, which includes Turner Networks, Audience Network, and Otter Media.
AppNexus reportedly filed for an IPO in November 2016. The listing would have valued the company at between $1.5 billion and $2 billion. It has also raised about $344 million from investors including News Corp., WPP, Fidelity, TCV, Microsoft, Deutsche Telekom, and Khosla, according to TechCrunch.
The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.