The ink is barely dry on AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, but AT&T is already back in M&A mode, reportedly eyeing ad tech firm AppNexus and the rest of Otter Media it doesn’t already own.
According to the Wall Street Journal, AT&T could bid as much as $1.6 billion for AppNexus, which is backed by News Corp. and investment firm TCV.
AT&T could provide a jumpstart to its targeted advertising business after the Time Warner merger by acquiring AppNexus, a cloud-based software platform built for programmatic online advertising.
However, AppNexus has been the center of the Brand safety debate, as it’s an “exchange” that doesn’t monitor concerns of quality or brand safety.
Multiple sources on the demand-side tell the same story: AppNexus allowed legions of new supply partners, many of a long-tail nature, into its ecosystem in order to grow the company fast
While many were legitimate publishers, people pointed out that quite a few were actually bot-fueled “ghost sites,” ad farms and other sellers of a dubious nature.
Their CEO, Brian O’Kelly has agreed in the past there are serious issues, but says that AppNexus took steps to start preventing fraud and address brand safety concerns — including blocking fake news site, viral publishers an extremist political content.