Dec 21, 2021 - Economy

AT&T selling ad tech unit Xandr to Microsoft

Photo: Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AT&T is selling its ad tech unit Xandr to Microsoft. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Why it matters: AT&T has been scrambling to get Xandr off its balance sheet. Sources told Axios earlier this year that Xandr loses tens of millions a year and has been grossly mismanaged.

  • Sources told Axios that Xandr brings in roughly $300-$380 million in revenue annually and loses between $50-$90 million, depending on how losses are accounted for, according to at least four sources familiar with its numbers.

Be smart: As Axios has previously reported, Xandr made most of its money from transactions it facilitated internally on behalf of AT&T, monetizing WarnerMedia properties and DirecTV addressable ad inventory.

  • But AT&T is shedding both assets. It spun off DirecTV into a joint venture with private equity giant TPG earlier this year. It announced a deal to spin out WarnerMedia into a new company with Discovery.

Catch up quick: Xandr was created in 2018 through the $1.6 billion acquisition of AppNexus, an ad exchange, and a smaller acquisition of Clypd, a TV ad tech company. AT&T has struggled for months to find a buyer for Xandr, even though the ad tech industry is flourishing.

The big picture: AT&T isn't alone in its botched media and ad tech ventures. Verizon sold off its media and ad tech assets last year to a private equity firm for $5 billion, about half of what it paid to acquire them.

Go deeper: AT&T scrambles to sell ad tech unit Xandr as losses mount

Go deeper