AT&T Sells Xandr Programmatic Advertising Unit to Microsoft

(Image credit: Microsoft)

DALLAS—AT&T has agreed to sell its Xandr global programmatic advertising marketplace to Microsoft. Financial terms of the deal, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory reviews, were not disclosed. The companies said that the agreement “builds on a decade-long relationship between Xandr, including its predecessor companies, and Microsoft for delivering global digital media solutions for advertisers.”

AT&T had been looking for a buyer for Xandr for more than a year, according to the Wall St. Journal. When the telco spun off its WarnerMedia Division in a $43B merger with Discovery Inc. earlier this year, AT&T elected to hold onto Xandr (formerly AppNexus), which it had acquired for $1.6B in 2018 as part of its $85B acquisition of TimeWarner.  

Microsoft said Xandr “can shape the digital ad marketplace of the future,” and that Xandr's technology “strategically complements Microsoft's current advertising offerings and will help 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's shared vision of empowering a free and open web and championing an open industry alternative via a global advertising marketplace makes it a great fit for Xandr. We look forward to using our innovative platform to help accelerate Microsoft's digital advertising and retail media capabilities," said Xandr's EVP and GM Mike Welch.

"With Xandr's talent and technology, Microsoft can accelerate the delivery of its digital advertising and retail media solutions, shaping tomorrow's digital ad marketplace into one that respects consumer privacy preferences, understands publishers' relationships with consumers and helps advertisers meet their goals," said Mikhail Parakhin, President of Web Experiences at Microsoft.

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (, the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.