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.
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.