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Photo by Steve Jennings/WireImage

AT&T is looking to acquire AppNexus, one of the largest privately-owned ad exchanges, Cheddar reports.

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

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 big picture: AT&T last week 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.

Ad tech acquisitions were teased earlier this week by AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson of the decision.

  • He said AT&T is willing to invest in ad tech to expand it‘s data-based advertising offering, which will include digitally-targeted TV ads, digital ads and mobile ads.

The value: The deal would likely not go for less than $2 billion, per Cheddar. AppNexus was valued at roughly $2 billion when it was looking to go public in 2017.

Timing: 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.

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

Go deeper

DOJ watchdog to probe whether officials sought to alter election results

Former President Donald Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump exit Air Force One in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Jan. 20. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department's inspector general will investigate whether any current or former DOJ officials "engaged in an improper attempt to have DOJ seek to alter the outcome" of the 2020 election, the agency announced Monday.

Driving the news: The investigation comes in the wake of a New York Times report that alleged that Jeffrey Clark, the head of DOJ's civil division, had plotted with President Trump to oust acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen in a scheme to overturn the election results in Georgia.

2 hours ago - Podcasts

Google's chief health officer Karen DeSalvo on vaccinating America

Google on Monday became the latest Big Tech company to get involved with COVID-19 vaccinations. Not just by doing things like incorporating vaccination sites into its maps, but by helping to turn some of its offices and parking lots into vaccination sites.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into what Google is doing, and why now, with Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Google's chief health officer who previously worked at HHS and as health commissioner for New Orleans.

Biden signs order overturning Trump's transgender military ban

Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

President Biden signed an executive order on Monday overturning the Trump administration's ban on transgender Americans serving in the military.

Why it matters: The ban, which allowed the military to bar openly transgender recruits and discharge people for not living as their sex assigned at birth, affected up to 15,000 service members, according to tallies from the National Center for Transgender Equality and Transgender American Veterans Association.

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