Google June 13 said it has purchased display ad provider Admeld, confirming reports from last week.
TechCrunch said June 9 Google had shelled out $400 million for the company, which sells display advertising for large Websites.
Google declined to confirm the buy until June 13 and did not name the purchase price. The search engine said it made the buy because it regularly hears from large Website publishers that managing ad inventory is a complex pain point.
Google Display Ad Vice President Neal Mohan noted that Admeld will help large publishers select ads from myriad ad networks, including Advertising.com, Google's own DoubleClick Ad Exchange and Yahoo's Right Media, while providing personalized service and support for those ads.
Admeld is also known as a "yield optimization" provider, akin to Pubmatic and the Rubicon Project. The company counts Thomson Reuters, Discovery Communications, and News Corp. among its customers.
Many ad experts have argued that this technology is one of the last major puzzle pieces Google had yet to add as it seeks to expand it ad purview. Mohan said in a blog post:
"By combining Admeld's services, expertise and technology with Google's offerings, we're investing in what we hope will be an improved era of flexible ad management tools for major publishers. We hope to make display advertising simpler, more efficient and more valuable, provide improved support and services, and enable publishers to make more informed decisions across all their ad space."
Mohan added that Admeld will continue to support the ad networks, demand side platforms, exchanges and ad servers it already works with, which should provide some comfort for those who compete with Google for display ad placement.
No word yet on whether the Justice Department of Federal Trade Commission will oppose the deal, the type of move U.S. regulatory bodies are prone to opposing by Google.
The FTC has focused on Google's online ad mergers. The agency investigated Google's $3.1 billion bid for DoubleClick before blessing it in 2007. The FTC also delayed Google's $750 million purchase of mobile ad player AdMob before giving it the green light in May 2010.
AdMob is smaller than those acquisitions. However, IDC said Google's U.S. display ad revenue share grew to 14.7 percent in the first quarter of 2011 from 13.3 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010, passing Yahoo for the first time.
Given Google's dominant position, a regulatory investigation to ensure the deal is in keeping with fair competition laws remains a strong possibility.