Yahoo!, Microsoft and AOL Announce Display Advertising Agreements Partnership to benefit advertisers, agencies and publishers, provide more efficient access to premium online ad inventory.

REDMOND, Wash., SUNNYVALE, Calif. and NEW YORK, Nov. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO), Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) and AOL (NYSE: AOL) today announced agreements that should dramatically improve the process of buying and selling premium online display inventory. The agreements will allow ad networks operated by Yahoo!, Microsoft and AOL to offer each other's premium nonreserved online display inventory to their respective advertising customers.

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While agencies and advertisers can continue to choose to partner across Yahoo! Network Plus, AOL's Advertising.com and the Microsoft Media Network (each of which is differentiated by its capabilities around data, optimization, packaging and inventory), this partnership will also offer the efficiency of buying premium display inventory at scale to reach customers and audiences. Simultaneously, the partnership should enhance the demand for and value of each party's display advertising offerings as well as provide better yield for both participating publishers and advertisers.

"We're thrilled to partner with Microsoft and AOL and bring to market what we believe will be a more efficient, effective and more effortless way to access true premium inventory and formats," said Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo! executive vice president Americas. "There has a been a significant shift in how inventory is bought and sold, and we're now 100 percent focused on controlling our own destiny, working directly with marketers and agencies and driving better returns for our advertising partners."

"Enhancing choice and scale in today's display advertising market is 'a rising tide that lifts all boats'," said Rik van der Kooi, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Advertising Business Group. "This partnership will create an opportunity where advertisers and publishers alike can benefit from easier access to — and demand for — high-quality inventory. The fact that we're joining together to offer this kind of access to quality — yet each with our own differentiated ad offerings — is something that will benefit the market as a whole." 

"We are excited to be part of this partnership," said Ned Brody, chief revenue officer, AOL. "Today's announcement sets in motion the opportunity for advertisers to achieve scaled solutions across premium publishers. This should reduce friction in the marketplace, which will benefit both advertisers and publishers. And this partnership will take our existing Advertising.com partnerships with both Microsoft and Yahoo! to a new level."

By integrating one another's real-time bidding (RTB) technologies to facilitate the availability of nonreserved inventory by early 2012, Yahoo!, Microsoft and AOL expect to have the opportunity to access each other's nonreserved inventory to achieve the benefits of scale and efficiency. The Microsoft Advertising Exchange and Yahoo's! Right Media Exchange will initially serve as the two marketplaces from which the partners can procure this inventory for resale to advertisers and agencies. AOL may, at its discretion, opt to use its own exchange technology solution subsequent to the launch of the partnership.

Under the terms of the nonexclusive agreements, each company will continue to make its own decisions, differentiate its offerings and set its own controls for how it operates any exchanges, ad networks or other aspects of its display businesses. They will actively compete with each other for both advertiser spend and publisher partners based on their own unique product differentiators.

Effective in the United States, the partnership is based on the premise of audience-based selling across a large number of sites and is not expected to affect direct sales made by each partner's respective internal teams.  In addition to the United States, Yahoo! and AOL will have an agreement that extends to Canada.  Microsoft's Canada business is not participating directly in the agreement.

About Yahoo!

Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) is the premier digital media company, creating deeply personal digital experiences that keep more than half a billion people connected to what matters most to them, across devices and around the globe. And Yahoo!'s unique combination of Science + Art + Scale connects advertisers to the consumers who build their businesses. Yahoo! is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. For more information, visit the pressroom (pressroom.yahoo.com).

Yahoo! and Yahoo! News are the trademarks and/or registered trademark of Yahoo! Inc. All other names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owner.

About AOL

Having helped millions of Americans to get online, AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) is on a mission to inform, entertain and connect the world. The home of a growing collection of premium online and mobile brands, AOL creates original content that engages audiences on a local and global scale. We help marketers connect with this audience through effective and engaging digital online advertising solutions.

About Microsoft:

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

This press release (including without limitation the quotations from management) contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties concerning Yahoo!'s strategic and operational plans, as well as its expectations regarding the results of the partnership. Actual results and benefits of the agreements may differ materially from management expectations and those described in this press release. The potential risks and uncertainties include, among others, the possibility that the expected benefits of the transactions contemplated by the agreements do not materialize as expected or at all (including without limitation as a result of actions taken by United States or foreign regulatory agencies), the possibility that publishers, advertisers or agencies may not respond as favorably to the partnership as expected; the possibility that expectations regarding the impact on advertising revenue and direct sales might prove incorrect; and the possibility that the anticipated benefits to Yahoo! and publishers and advertisers might not be realized. More information about potential factors that could affect Yahoo!'s business and financial results is included under the captions, "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," in Yahoo!'s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010, as amended, and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2011, which are on file with the SEC and available at the SEC's website at www.sec.gov. Additional information will also be set forth in those sections in Yahoo!'s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2011, which will be filed with the SEC in the fourth quarter of 2011.

This press release contains "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding AOL's business strategies, market potential, future financial and operational performance and other matters.  Such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the anticipated benefits of the transaction and other statements identified by words such as "may," "will," "intend," "should," "expect" or similar expressions. These statements are based on AOL management's current expectations and beliefs, and are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances, including, but not limited to, [the possibility that the expected benefits of the partnership do not materialize as expected or at all; the possibility that publishers, advertisers or agencies may not respond as favorably to the partnership as expected; the possibility that expectations regarding the impact on advertising revenue and direct sales might prove incorrect; changes in our plans, strategies and intentions; and the intensity of competition.] Any forward-looking information is not a guarantee of future performance and actual results may vary materially from those expressed or implied by the statements herein, due to changes in economic, business, competitive, technological, strategic and/or regulatory factors, as well as factors affecting AOL's operations and businesses. More detailed information about these factors as they relate to AOL may be found in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in AOL's Annual Report on Form 10-K, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AOL is under no obligation to, and expressly disclaims any obligation to, update or alter the forward-looking statements contained in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.



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