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Mobclix Acquired By UK Mobile Marketing Company Velti

Mobclix logoAnother one bites the dust. Mobile ad exchange Mobclix has been acquired by London-based mobile marketing agency Velti, we’ve heard from a source with knowledge of the transaction. We originally reported the rumors of a Mobclix deal last week. While terms of the deal have not been disclosed, we hear the size of the acquisition is north of $50 million. UPDATE: We’ve confirmed the acquisition with Mobclix; here is the release.

Mobclix’s exchange allows app developers to sign up with their ad inventory and ad networks, like Millennial Media and Jumptap, bid for the spots based on age, gender, location, and other factors. The ads being served change automatically, based on which ad network is bidding the highest to reach the users of that particular app.

The startup, which launched at TechCrunch 50 in 2008, also lets advertisers buy across a variety of apps based on demographic, geo-targeting, and behavioral characteristics. And Mobclix offers analytics via a recent acquisition of Heartbeat.

Velti, which is a public company on the London Stock Exchange, offers a SaaS technology platform that allows agencies and brands to plan, manage, and optimize mobile advertising and marketing campaigns in real time. The company says that in 2009, 2,000 mobile campaigns were run on its platform by more than 450 brands, agencies, and mobile operators in more than 35 countries. Velti has acquired a number of companies over the past year, including mobile ad technology Media Cannon and AdInfuse.

The exit is a little anticlimactic, considering that the names being bantered about with respect to Mobclix’s possible acquisition were RIM, Microsoft and other well-known technology companies. But the sell further reinforces the point that as Apple (via Quattro) and Google (via AdMob) take over mobile advertising, independent startups may not be able to compete. Acquisitions may be the best option for smaller ad networks.

Rumor has it that RIM is actively looking for a mobile ad network, and sniffing around Millennial Media. Nokia may also be eying a mobile network as well. Smaller mobile ad network mSnap just got bought by business software company Marketron. I’d expect to see more market consolidation as these independent ad networks continue to get snapped up. After all, mobile advertising is a $1 billion market and everyone wants a piece of the pie.
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