After a long period of speculation, it has been confirmed that AT&T has acquired adtech pioneer AppNexus. The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed but sources with knowledge of the transaction have indicated the value of the transaction is approximately $1.6B. AppNexus primarily provides a sell-side platform (SSP) for publishers to monetize their ad inventory through an automated process. The transaction gives data-heavy AT&T the infrastructure to compete with Google and Facebook’s ad platform offerings, especially across multiple devices – critical now that AT&T has completed its acquisition of Time Warner.
Brian O’Kelley and Mike Nolet, founded AppNexus in 2007 and the company had previously raised a total of $523M in funding prior to the acquisition. The company had filed its S1 in late 2016 with an expected valuation of $2B but the IPO never materialized. Investors in the company include SV Angel, First Round Capital, Khosla Ventures, Venrock, TCV, Kodiak Venture Partners, Ronald Conway, Tribeca Venture Partners, Fidelity Investments, WPP Ventures, SharesPost Investment Management, Grape Arbor VC, Marc Andreessen, Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners, News Corp., Yahoo! Japan, Ben Horowitz, Coriolis Ventures, and Philippe Corrot.
“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,” said O’Kelley, CEO of AppNexus. “Combining AT&T’s incredible assets with our technology, we will help brands and marketers power new advertising experiences for consumers. It’s what the market is asking for, and together we’re poised to deliver it.”
“Ad tech unites real-time analytics and technology with our premium TV and video content,” remarked Brian Lesser, CEO of AT&T Advertising and Analytics. “So, we went out and found the strongest player in the space. AppNexus has scale of infrastructure, advanced technology, brand diverse talent. The combination of AT&T advertising & 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.”