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Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket/Getty Images

AT&T has announced it will acquire AppNexus, one of the largest privately-owned ad exchanges. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but The Wall Street Journal reports that the price tag is around $1.6 billion.

Why it matters: The acquisition will help AT&T build its automated digital advertising business that could compete with Google and Facebook’s massive duopoly.

What is AppNexus? AppNexus is a digital ad exchange — or a company that uses technology to optimize automated advertising bidding across digital properties, like websites and apps. Its main competitors are other ad tech companies that experienced high periods of growth between 2011 and 2013, like PubMatic and Criteo.

  • "The fit was so good with the assets that AT&T has and has acquired," says venture capitalist and AppNexus director Mike Tyrrell, who adds that deal likely would not have happened had AT&T been unable to complete its purchase of Time Warner.

The backstory: There were reports last year that AppNexus, like some of its ad tech rivals, would go public. Many have instead sought buyers in a harsh ad tech landscape. Other tech companies, like Salesforce and Oracle, have recently invested in ad tech companies valued at roughly $850 million.

The company will become a part of the growing ad stack being developed by AT&T advertising and analytics CEO Brian Lesser. Cheddar first reported that AT&T was eyeing the acquisition last week.

  • AT&T says it reaches 170 million unique direct-to-consumer connections across AT&T-specific wireless, video and broadband.
  • It has 15 million addressable television households, or houses that can be targeted with with digital ads.

The big picture: AT&T recently closed an $85 billion deal to buy Time Warner and developing a digital advertising business was a big part of its pursuit of the content company. AT&T hopes an automated ad business will bring it a new revenue stream that can help subsidize pay TV losses as more people cut the cord.

Go deeper: What AT&T's advertising platform will look like

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note ±3.3% margin of error for the total sample size; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

About half of Americans are worried that trick-or-treating will spread coronavirus in their communities, according to this week's installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This may seem like more evidence that the pandemic is curbing our nation's cherished pastimes. But a closer look reveals something more nuanced about Americans' increased acceptance for risk around activities in which they want to participate.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — Fauci: Hotspots have materialized across "the entire country."
  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 10 hours ago - Economy & Business

Dunkin' Brands agrees to $11B Inspire Brands sale

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Dunkin' Brands, operator of both Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, agreed on Friday to be taken private for nearly $11.3 billion, including debt, by Inspire Brands, a restaurant platform sponsored by private equity firm Roark Capital.

Why it matters: Buying Dunkin’ will more than double Inspire’s footprint, making it one of the biggest restaurant deals in the past 10 years. This could ultimately set up an IPO for Inspire, which already owns Arby's, Jimmy John's and Buffalo Wild Wings.