AT&T sells Xandr to Microsoft

AT&T announced Tuesday it will sell its Xandr programmatic advertising business to Microsoft for an undisclosed amount. The transaction is part of a broader move by AT&T to scale down its media ambitions and instead focus on its fiber and 5G connectivity operations.

Microsoft said Xandr's technology "strategically complements Microsoft's current advertising offerings" and that the acquisition will help it "accelerate delivery of digital advertising and retail media solutions for the open web by combining Microsoft's audience intelligence, technology and global advertising customer-base with Xandr's scaled, data-driven platform."

Microsoft has become a key player in AT&T's new corporate trajectory. Earlier this year, AT&T announced it would transition its core 5G network operations into Microsoft's cloud over the next three years.

AT&T introduced Xandr in September 2019 following its $1.6 billion acquisition of ad-tech company AppNexus. AT&T viewed the acquisition as part of its move into media, highlighted by its $85 billion purchase of Time Warner in 2018. However, Xandr has been struggling during a pandemic that has seen a slashing of TV advertising budgets. AT&T last year reportedly began looking to sell Xandr.

AT&T's sale of Xandr comes just months after the company exited the media industry by combining its WarnerMedia media division with Discovery. AT&T has been working to shed related media businesses as part of its efforts to refocus its business on selling 5G and fiber Internet connections.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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