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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Sarah Grillo / Axios

Acxiom, one of the largest publicly-traded ad tech firms, has sold the majority of its business to Interpublic Group (IPG), one of the largest global advertising holding companies, for $2.3 billion, the companies announced Monday.

Why it matters: It's the latest major ad tech company to go through a big sale as the data-driven advertising market continues to be squeezed by business pressure from tech giants like Google and Facebook and regulatory pressure around data privacy.

What's at stake: The deal allows Acxiom to offload its Marketing Solutions division, which took a hit when Facebook began cracking down on third-party data brokers after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. It gives IPG access to billions of consumer data sets to its grow its data-driven, ad-buying business.

  • Analysts note that the acquisition reaffirms IPG's commitment to remaining a publicly-traded company.
  • Arun Kumar, IPG’s first global chief data and marketing technology officer, will oversee the acquisition.
  • But, but, but: Senior advertising analyst Brian Weiner warns in a Wall Street Journal interview that the acquisition could pose some risk to IPG, given all of the public and regulatory attention around data privacy.

Acxiom will remain a publicly-traded company, and will retain LiveRamp, a platform that helps mine, identify and move data that it acquired in 2014. LiveRamp has since become its fastest-growing division.

  • Acxiom says it will rename its company "LiveRamp" and will begin trading its common stock under the new ticker symbol “RAMP."
  • Acxiom says it's offloading its marketing solutions business, which accounts for the majority of its revenue, to help drive greater financial flexibility for further deals down the line.
  • The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018, pending regulatory approval.

Between the lines: Acxiom had been looking to sell off its marketing solutions business for some time. Several agencies were interested in the acquisition, according to previous reports.

  • Acxiom says it finally sold to IPG because it offered an all-cash transaction and because of the strong working relationship the two companies have already created.
  • Acxiom and IPG formed a global partnership late last year to strengthen IPG’s data and analytics capabilities for its media buying and digital agencies, Initiative and UM.

Go deeper

The pandemic made our workweeks longer

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The average American's workweek has gotten 10% longer during the pandemic, according to a new Microsoft study published in Nature Human Behaviour.

Why it matters: These longer hours are a key part of the pandemic-induced crisis of burnout at U.S. firms — and workers are quitting in droves.

Mike Allen, author of AM
14 mins ago - Economy & Business

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky to herald "travel revolution"

Expand chart
Data: TSA. Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky will argue this week that the world is undergoing a "travel revolution," in which some parts of the industry stay shrunk but that the sector ultimately comes back "bigger than ever."

Why it matters: Chesky, who faced the abyss when the world shut down last year, foresees a significant shift in how people move around, with more intentional gatherings of family, friends and colleagues — even if routine business travel is never what it once was.

Managing traffic in the skies is becoming a lot harder

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Planes used to be the only aircraft crisscrossing the sky. Now there are drones, more frequent rocket ships and — soon — flying taxis, elbowing their way into the National Airspace System.

Why it matters: Managing the congestion up above is becoming an urgent mission for America's traffic cops in the sky. While the Federal Aviation Administration has a stellar safety record when it comes to commercial aviation, its challenge is infinitely more complex today.

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