Kara Swisher

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Facebook in Talks to Buy Microsoft’s Atlas Ad Platform

According to sources close to the situation, Facebook is looking seriously at purchasing Microsoft’s Atlas Solutions ad-serving platform.

Sources said the social networking giant has been conducting due diligence on the media measurement platform, part of its efforts to create its own advertising network for third-party Web sites to compete with Google’s DoubleClick offering.

Atlas has been quietly on the market for some time and has been looked at by a number of companies, such as Adobe, said sources. But the effort to sell it got a jumpstart with recent interest from Facebook, which had been debating buy-versus-build options.

While there are some technological issues in taking over Atlas, sources said the prospect of starting from scratch was more daunting than picking up a platform that already delivers billions of ad impressions a day.

Atlas was acquired by Microsoft as part of its 2007 purchase of aQuantive for $6 billion. The new price for Atlas will be substantially lower, said sources, but could involve a more complex advertising agreement between Facebook and Microsoft.

Facebook declined comment and I am awaiting a response from Microsoft.

(Business Insider is also reporting that the pair are in talks.)

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