Google has acquired online ad optimization company Admeld for $400 million, according to a source close to the deal. The deal ads a missing piece to Google's online ad infrastructure that powers much of online display advertising today, but could bring more regulatory scrutiny.
AdMeld is one of several companies that help publishers decide which ad to accept from a host of buyers such as ad networks or buyers participating in exchanges. Others in the space include the L.A.-based Rubicon Project and Palo Alto-based Pubmatic.
Observers have long thought that Google would add optimization functionality to its ad server, DoubleClick; the question was whether it would build it on its own or acquire an existing company, as it did with the demand-side platform Invite Media, which it acquired last year.
AdMeld is led by CEO Michael Barrett, former head of digital sales at News Corp. Mr. Barrett helped MySpace reach its revenue heyday, but took the fall when traffic and sales started to plummet. Google is expected to add the functionality to its suite of tools for publishers. Through DoubleClick, Google powers much of the world's online display advertising, taking a tiny cut of the buy along the way.
With the deal, Google has acquired 12 companies since the beginning of the year, according to Tolman Geffs, co-president of Jordan Edmiston Group, a media investment bank. TechCrunch's Michael Arrington first reported news of the deal.A Google spokesperson declined to comment on "rumors."
The deal could trigger some regulatory scrutiny. Google has been through several tough reviews, including its deal to acquire DoubleClick in 2007, and its attempt to forge a search partnership with Yahoo in 2008.