As has been rumored for the past few weeks, Facebook is buying Microsoft's Atlas ad-serving/measurement platform, the two companies announced officially on February 28.
Facebook also is acquiring the Atlas team, which is based in Seattle and will continue to operate there. Neither Microsoft nor Facebook is disclosing the price of the transaction.
From Facebook's statement about the acquisition:
"Many marketers that advertise on Facebook today use Atlas, and Atlas has been an approved partner for measurement since June. Today's agreement brings us closer together in a way that benefits both Facebook and Atlas' agency and marketer clients. Atlas clients should not see any change to the service they receive today, and we will continue to innovate and invest in the Atlas platform."
Facebook plans to invest in scaling the Atlas back-end measurement systems and enhancing its suite of tools for advertisers on both desktop and mobile devices, officials said.
Microsoft bought the Atlas assets in 2007 when it paid $6 billion for ad company aQuantive. Microsoft has been divesting itself of pieces of the aQuantive acquisition in the past few years.
Microsoft officials are saying that today's sell-off doesn't mean the Redmondians are lessening their focus on online advertising. Here's the official statement from Microsoft:
"Our reasons for wanting to sell Atlas are really pretty simple: the time was right; the agreement allows us to focus more aggressively on the evolving vision we have our digital advertising business; it was mutually beneficial to both parties; and we feel that Facebook will afford the Atlas business and employees the greatest opportunity for continued growth. Moreover, in no way does this announcement change or diminish our commitment to online advertising, in either display or search."
Microsoft officials also are saying that Facebook's acquisition of Atlas will strengthen the existing partnership between Microsoft and Facebook.