Fresh off closing its $85 billion merger with Time Warner last Friday, AT&T is reportedly lining up a couple of (relatively) smaller deals for ad-tech firm AppNexus and the remaining stake in Otter Media.
AT&T intends to buy out all of Otter Media, the digital video company AT&T jointly owns with the Chernin Group, Recode reported Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Otter Media’s assets include entertainment video company Fullscreen and the popular anime subscription service Crunchyroll.
The deal was put on hold while the Time Warner acquisition closed, but after years of talks is now expected to close this summer, according to Recode.
How much AT&T would pay for the rest of Otter Media is not clear, but the news outlet indicated industry observers peg the deal value above $1 billion.
To continue on what could be an apparent buying spree, AT&T is also in talks to purchase privately-held AppNexus, which operates one of the largest independent ad exchanges, sources told Cheddar on Tuesday.
The deal, expected to be around $1.6 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal, could give AT&T traction in the digital advertising sales arena as it seeks to play in the world dominated by digital-ad giants Google and Facebook.
After closing on its merger with what is now called WarnerMedia, the telecom giant announced that advertising and analytics would be one of its four major business segments. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson also said on CNBC that the company would be starting a “significant advertising platform” and to “expect some smaller, not like Time Warner, but some smaller” advertising-related acquisitions in the coming weeks.
Brian Lesser, who is heading up AT&T’s ad and analytics business, previously sat on AppNexus’ board.
BTIG Media & Tech analyst Richard Greenfield told Cheddar that while competing with the scale of Google and Facebook is practically impossible today, purchasing AppNexus would get the buyer “in the game with a scaled, global open platform,” which could be what AT&T needs as it tries to monetize its new assets that include Turner channels like CNN, TBS and TNT.