Microsoft Picks Up Another Ad Startup: Rapt

rapt-logo.pngWill Microsoft’s hunger for advertising startups sever be satiated? Even as it continues to pursue the big Yahoo merger, it keeps picking up small startups to fill out its advertising software business. A couple weeks ago it was micro-segmenting software startup Yadata (for $20 to $30 million) . Today it is Rapt (the price was not disclosed). Rapt offers Web-based “yield-management” software for Web publishers to help them manage their advertising inventory based on price and other factors. According to AdWeek:

Rapt is used by several top Web publishers to manage ad-inventory sales. It forecasts how much a publisher can get for ad placements, and whether they should sell the spots themselves or use ad networks. The company works with publishers like CNET Networks, Dow Jones and The New York Times. Rapt also helps Microsoft manage inventory on its own sites.

Rapt will be rolled into the Atlas Publisher Suite within the aQuantive business (which Microsoft bought for $6 billion last May). Rapt, with 85 employees, is a small deal that helps Microsoft fill out its technology checklist. With the recent conclusion of Google-DoubleClick deal, it looks like the massive consolidation of pure-play advertising deals is trickling down. (Quigo, bought by AOL for more than $300 million, was the last major exit). We’ll see more small technology acquisitions like this one, but for the big ad networks that didn’t get bought by now, their chances of a big payday going into a recession are slim.