Greystripe Acquisition Opens Mobile Playing Field for ValueClick

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mobiletv.jpgADOTAS – It’s a big acquisition Monday, and we’re going to have to hit them one by one. The mobile ad network space just got a little less indie as Greystripe has been acquired by ValueClick for $70 million. The mobile ad network will retain its staff and management team — including CEO Michael Chang — as it becomes a wholly owned subsidiary within the ValueClick Media division, which provides display and lead-gen solutions for advertisers.

Greystripe boasts a reach of 30 million uniques mobile users and serves display and rich media mobile ads for 3,500 apps and mobile websites. After Apple introduced the iAd, Greystripe was quick to the market with a similar solution — featuring Flash, wonderful Flash capabilities — that was not only multiplatform but also cheaper. Check out a case study regarding Buick’s use of Immersion Ads.

“Greystripe accelerates ValueClick’s move ‘up the marketing funnel’ with brand advertisers and gives ValueClick Media immediate scale and expertise in the large and fast-growing mobile ad market,” commented ValueClick CEO Jim Zarley.

What does he mean by “move up the funnel”? ValueClick — which tends to garner performance advertising budgets from big companies rather than brand budgets — hopes to cross-sell Greystripe in-app and mobile website campaigns to its advertiser base in a gambit to break into those brand budgets. In addition, the ValueClick Media division will open its expansive network publishers to add boatloads of inventory to Greystripe’s network.

On a side note, in what was certainly a shot at Google and its mobile ad network AdMob, last summer Apple changed its mobile ad policy to only allow independent mobile ad networks to serve in-app ads. Indie players like Millennial Media, Jumptap and Greystripe seemed to have one-upped the AdMob-Google Goliath, but the ValueClick acquisition would appear to take Greystripe out of contention. The Federal Trade Commission was reportedly looking into Apple’s mobile ad policy, but there’s been not a peep since last summer.

ValueClick promised more details on the Greystripe acquisition during its May 3 conference call with investors. We’ve already noticed online display ad networks taking an interest in online video ad networks, but will we see more mobile ad networks get scooped up as display ad networks respond to encroachment by players such as DSPs, revenue optimizers, private ad exchanges, etc.?

Bonus — ValueClick Vice President of Corporate Development and Investor Relations Gary Fuges chats with AdExchanger’s John Ebbert about potential future acquisitions, but doesn’t outright say a video play is on the company’s agenda.

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