Cox Enterprises will fork over $300 million in cash to buy Adify, a Web advertising startup.
Adify aggregates Web sites into vertical industry categories and sells online ad space in each group of sites, enabling advertisers to schedule ad campaigns for specific industries (or industry segments) without having to negotiate with every single individual Web site in a category. In other words, Adify enables marketers to reach specific audiences via multiple, content-related sites through a single ad buy.
Ideally, Adify can sell higher-priced ads targeted to specific audiences, which should attract large advertisers who otherwise would advertise through ad programs run by Google and Yahoo.
Cox is exploring its own specialty ad networks around such Web properties as cable TV’s Travel Channel, the AutoTrader.com classifieds site and the Kudzu local search portal. As Cox negotiated with Adify for its own needs, it decided to buy the company outright.
Adify will continue operating as an independent company, with Cox competitors treated, as well as Cox-owned Web sites.
General Electric’s NBC Universal and Time Warner Inc. are investors, but Adify said the companies intend to sell their interests. NBC will remain a customer, however.
Adify competitors include Burst Media and Seevast.
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