Atlas Buys Accipiter for $30M

Ad management provider Atlas has purchased sell-side ad trafficker Accipiter for $30.3 million in cash. The acquisition marks the aQuantive unit’s first move into ad management on behalf of publishers, placing it into direct competition with DoubleClick’s DART for Publishers and 24/7 Real Media.

Accipiter supports display advertising, rich media, RSS and in-stream audio and video units. It has offered a behavioral targeting product, called VIBE (Visitor Interest Behavioral Engine), since 2004. Accipiter acquired performance-based contextual ad network BidClix in September. The company, which operates in 20 countries, serves ad networks as well as individual Web sites.

According to Mike Galgon, aQuantive’s chief strategy officer, serving site owners is a good business play in an era of multiplying formats and targeting methods. Sales coordination alone is a huge challenge. “Any ad on the Web site may have been sold by their national sales force, their regional sales force or one of their network partners,” Galgon told ClickZ News.

Accipiter was founded in 1996 and purchased by CMGI in 1998 and later merged with CMGI’s Engage. Its management team bought it back in 2002, and the company has remained independent until now.

Post-acquisition, CEO Brian Handly stays on as SVP of Atlas. Accipiter’s European offerings will be merged with Atlas’s Europe, Middle East and Africa business.

Atlas introduced pre-roll ad insertion last month, just before DoubleClick did the same.

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