In Its First Acquisition, YP Buys Mobile Ad Company Sense Networks

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Local search and advertising company YP is announcing that it has acquired Sense Networks.

David Lebow, the senior vice president and general manager of YP’s national markets group, told me that this is the company’s first acquisition since it launched in May 2012, when it was formed from the merger of AT&T Advertising Solutions (publisher of the Yellow Pages) and AT&T Interactive, with Cerberus Capital Management holding a controlling stake.

Lebow added that YP’s mobile ad efforts have been focused on search until now, so acquiring Sense (a decade-old, venture-backed company) gives YP a foothold to expand into mobile display as well. The two companies already worked together, but he said that actually acquiring Sense’s technology, with its ability to create custom consumer profiles for use in mobile ad targeting, will give YP a real competitive advantage. (That’s a company illustration of Sense Networks’ technology above.)

In addition, all entire 10 Sense Networks team members will be joining YP, where they will continue to focus on mobile display ads and targeting. That team is going to grow, Lebow said: “We know it’s not a 10-person problem, it’s a 30-person problem.”

Sense Networks was founded in 2003 and backed by Intel Capital, Javelin Venture Partners, and others. In 2012, we reported that it was in acquisition talks with Twitter.

Lebow also argued that the deal shows YP’s shift away from traditional publishing and towards “placing a premium on technology.”

“Our transformation is well underway,” he said.

And in the acquisition release, CEO David Krantz suggested that YP is on the look for more deals like this: “We expect to continue to make technology acquisitions and plan to aggressively maintain and build on our mobile advertising leadership.”

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.