Verizon Communications has reportedly approached internet firm AOL about a potential acquisition or joint venture, as it looks to boost its mobile video offerings.
According to Bloomberg sources, Verizon is mainly interested in AOL’s programmatic advertising technology, which is the automated buying and selling of online ads. This technology could be used in conjunction with future online video offerings.
According to the sources, Verizon hasn’t made a formal proposal to AOL with an agreement not imminent.
Verizon’s main rival AT&T recently acquired satellite TV provider DirecTV for $48.5 billion. Verizon would therefore be keen to enhance its position in the space.
AOL has invested in a range of advertising technology in recent years, the largest of which was the $418 million acquisition in 2013 of Adap.tv, which matches advertisers and video publishers through an exchange.
Verizon is currently working to integrate mobile video technology in acquired last year, including OnCue from Intel and the EdgeCast content delivery network.
Sources said that any deal to acquire AOL would be hampered by Verizon’s need to pay off debt from buying Vodafone’s 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless last year and to stockpile cash to fund spectrum acquisitions.
If Verizon was to acquire AOL however, it would also gain a number of online publications, such as The Huffington Post, as well as subscribers to AOL’s internet service business.