If AOL Buys Millennial Media, It Will Have Reeled In One of Mobile's Last Available Big Fish

A timeline of rapid-fire acquisitions

The mobile ad space has changed a lot in a little time.

According to a TechCrunch report Wednesday, AOL is in talks to acquire Millennial Media for $300 million to $350 million, which would give the company's mobile business a boost. Millennial Media runs ads on publishers' mobile apps and sites, which in theory, AOL could use to place ads for brands.

AOL declined to comment for this story, and Millennial did not respond to inquiries.

The possible deal is intriguing given that Millennial is one of the few remaining big independent mobile ad networks after a string of players have been swallowed up in recent years.

Below is a timeline laying out noteworthy mobile acquisitions, including a recent near-miss.

August 2013: Millennial buys Jumptap for $209 million, a real-time bidding platform that it used to build a programmatic ad exchange.

September 2013: Twitter buys MoPub, another real-time mobile ad network. When Twitter launched mobile app install ads in April 2014, the microblogging site started serving ads on MoPub's network of apps.

May 2014: Programmatic player PubMatic buys Mocean Mobile to beef up its cross-screen ad-targeting tools.

June 2014: Opera buys mobile video platform AdColony. The Wall Street Journal reported that Opera paid $75 million in cash, plus earn-out payments up to $275 million.

July 2014: Yahoo acquires Flurry, a mobile app and analytics company, for $200 million to $300 million. In November, Yahoo rolled out in-app video buys.

September 2014: Millennial buys Nexage, an ad network that ran mobile Web and app ads for publishers like The Weather Channel, the NFL and Reuters, for $107 million—about half what it paid for Jumptap.

March 2015: Google reportedly tries to buy InMobi, another big mobile ad network that is one of Millennial's biggest competitors. CEO Naveen Tewari then sends an email explaining that he wants his company to stay independent. But if Millennial Media is off the market, the bids for Tewari's company may be too lucrative for him to turn down.

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