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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

Laurel Hubbard to become 1st openly trans athlete to compete at Olympics

New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, when she became the first openly transgender athlete to represent NZ. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has announced that Laurel Hubbard has been selected for the women's weightlifting team for the Tokyo Games — making her the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the event.

The big picture: Hubbard, 43, is part of a five-member Kiwi weightlifting team and will compete in the women's super heavyweight category. Meanwhile, BMX rider Chelsea Wolfe will become the first openly trans athlete to travel to the Olympics with Team USA, when she arrives in Tokyo as a reserve rider.

American Airlines cuts hundreds of flights amid demand surge

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

American Airlines announced Sunday that it's cutting some 950 flights from its schedule, including 296 this weekend, to reduce potential pressure on its operations, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Driving the news: The U.S. vaccine rollout has led to a massive increase in travel bookings. The airline noted in an emailed statement that it's facing an "incredibly quick ramp up of customer demand."

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Florida Pride parade fatal crash a "tragic accident," police say

Participants walk away as police investigate the scene where a pickup truck drove into a crowd of people at a Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

Police said Sunday they believe a driver unintentionally hit spectators at a weekend Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, resulting in the death of one man and leaving another person hospitalized.

The latest: Addressing speculation that the crash may have been a hate crime against the LGBTQ community, Wilton Manors police chief Gary Blocker said in a statement: "Today we know yesterday's incident was a tragic accident, and not a criminal act directed at anyone, or any group of individuals."