The frenzy around online ad networks never stops (maybe because there are so many of them). This morning, Specific Media, announced a whopping $100 million investment by private equity firm Francisco Partners. This follows a $10 million venture round last June led by Enterprise Partners. Specific Media is the fourth largest ad network in terms of audience reach, according to comScore (after Advertising.com, Yahoo, and ValueClick). The 130.7 million people it reached across the Web in September was just below the 133.5 million reached by publicly-traded ValueClick, which has a market capitalization of $2.6 billion.
On the (possible) acquisition front, ad-targeting network Quigo might be bought by AOL for $300 million, according to Kara Swisher. Quigo provides contextual ad-targeting for many media Websites, including ABCNews.com, CNNMoney.com, Forbes.com, and USAToday.com. This would certainly be in keeping with AOL’s strategy to build out its Platform-A advertising network, even as it takes steps to allow consumers to opt out of such targeting. Quigo won’t confirm the rumor. But it didn’t deny it either. I called up Quigo CEO Michael Yavonditte earlier today to ask him about it. His non-response: “There are rumors that we are going public, there are rumors that we are going to be bought. We don’t comment on stuff like that.” Sounds like he is keeping his options open.
(Disclosure: I am a former employee of Time Warner, which is the parent of both AOL and CNNMoney, and I own Time Warner stock.)