Rumors are rumors, but when they make sense, once cannot help but wonder: is there true substance behind them? The Business Insider, quoting unnamed sources outside Microsoft and Facebook, reported that the two companies are in discussions about a possible ad deal, in which Facebook would acquire Atlas Solutions, a Microsoft asset since 2007, when the multinational corporation purchased aQuantive for a mere $6.3 billion in cash and stock.
Despite the fact that neither Facebook, nor Microsoft confirmed the deal, the possibility that Facebook may want to grab Atlas makes a lot of sense. With Microsoft, Atlas cannot go too far. This year, in July, Microsoft announced that it would take a $6.2 billion writedown, which had a lot to do with the 2007 acquisition of aQuantive. Now the company is looking to get rid of some assets from that deal, and Atlas seems to be one of them. Earlier in October, there were rumors that Microsoft was in talks with AppNexus for the same deal. But those rumors were never confirmed.
Today, the buzz makes a bit more sense. With Facebook, Atlas could make a strong competitor against Google’s own ad-serving product, DoubleClick, acquired by Google in 2007, for over $3 billion in cash.
Atlas already has partnerships with leading vendors across rich media, dynamic creative optimization (DCO), search engine management (SEM), demand side platforms (DSP), and mobile. And Facebook has access to a vast number of email addresses, phone numbers, and personal data across its network. Facebook could use Atlas to strengthen its position against Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) in the online ad market. The social network is already serving ads within its closed network, but Atlas could help Facebook extend rich all over the Internet, way beyond partner sites.