AT&T to Buy Digital Ad Exchange AppNexus

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The deal has AT&T, led by CEO Randall Stephenson, aiming to do for premium video advertising what Facebook and Google have done for digital advertising.

AT&T on Monday said it is buying the digital ad exchange AppNexus as it looks to create more targeted advertising for premium video products after acquiring HBO, CNN and Warner Bros. studio owner Time Warner.

Terms of the deal for the privately owned ad exchange were not disclosed. But AT&T in recent months has talked about the Time Warner acquisition allowing the phone giant to pair a large advertising inventory with around 170 million mobile, pay TV and broadband customers to create a media powerhouse in the advertising realm.

The media giant last year hired Brian Lesser away from ad giant WPP to use content, data and analytics to create a TV ad marketplace. The goal is doing for premium video advertising what Facebook and Google have done for digital advertising.

"AppNexus has scale of infrastructure, advanced technology and diverse talent," Lesser said in a statement Monday. AppNexus as an advertising marketplace offers publishers, agencies and marketers digital advertising tools.

"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," he added.

Until the transaction closes during the third quarter of 2018, AT&T and AppNexus will continue to operate independently.