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WPP Snaps Up 24/7 Real Media

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Ad agency holding company WPP has acquired 24/7 Real Media for $649 million. The company has three main businesses: a CPM-based display ad network, publisher-side ad-serving technology, and a search marketing consultancy.

The 24/7 search business was built from acquisitions of Website Results in 2000 and Decide Interactive in 2004.

On the search side, WPP already owns Outrider, now part of MEC Interaction, and Boston-based Catalyst. According to WPP's statement, 24/7 will increase search spend under WPP's management by $200 million, "taking search volumes to more than $450 million and adding a robust technology platform for managing search."

This acquisition seems to be more about the ad network and ad-serving technology, as that's the focus of much of WPP's announcement.

This is the latest in a string of ad network acquisitions, and another example of Microsoft apparently missing out. Google got DoubleClick, Yahoo got Right Media, and so far Microsoft has been left empty-handed. Microsoft had reportedly been eyeing both DoubleClick and 24/7.

Of course, it's possible that Microsoft is the sane one here, since it doesn't need an ad network, but could have been after the publisher relationships 24/7 had with its ad serving technology, which would help jump-start a base for its adCenter platform.

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