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Why would AOL shell out $300 million or more for Millenuin media

If mobile and video are the twin engines driving ad tech, then AOL’s rumored $300 million to $350 million acquisition of Millennial Media would put the pedal to the metal.

The potential deal, first reported by AOL-owned TechCrunch on Thursday, comes just a few weeks after the official close of Verizon’s $4.4 billion purchase of AOL.

With Adap.tv already under AOL’s belt on the video side, Millennial Media could prove to be AOL’s corollary for mobile – a quick way to ramp up programmatic experience and supply on the mobile side.

According to a source with knowledge of the matter, AOL has been considering Millennial for about three months – but it’s not alone in that endeavor.

Twitter was also taking a peek under Millennial’s hood, but internal leadership shuffles – Dick Costolo’s departure as CEO and the ongoing search for a new permanent chief – might have hampered the process, leaving an in for AOL.

And this isn’t the first time that possibility of an AOL/Millennial hookup has been in the air. As Richard Fetyko, SVP of Internet tech and media at ABR Investment Strategy, noted in February 2014 – roughly one month after Michael Barrett took the reins as CEO – Millennial’s platform could help plug the mobile hole in AOL’s “sizable network business.”

“As Millennial Media transitions to programmatic, its strategic value will rise,” Fetyko said. “And, with it, the chance of a take-out rises as well.”

Why Millennial?