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Microsoft Buys TV Ad Placement Firm Navic Network

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imageMicrosoft (NSDQ: MSFT) continues on its M&A streak, though a much smaller one: it has bought out Waltham, MA-based Navic Systems, an eight-year-old company that helps advertisers place ads on TV programs. Terms were not disclosed. This starts MSFT’s forays into TV ad placement, in which arch rival Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has already made some strides, though in fits and starts. SpotRunner, the LA-based heavily backed firm, is also a rival.

Navic’s technologies include campaign management tools to place targeted ads on TV and through Admira provide a unified ad network for targeting audiences across TV ad inventory. Microsoft hopes to build an online service that allows ads to be placed across all platforms, and this acquisition fits into it. Navic has worked with Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) Cable, Cox and Charter (NSDQ: CHTR), among others…it had raised about $43 million in funding from the likes of Pilot House Ventures Group, Pequot Private Equity, Highland Capital Partners and Himalaya Capital.

Navic will be part of Microsoft’s Advertiser and Publisher Solutions (APS) Group, which is headed by former Aquantive CEO Brian McAndrews. More details in release. Microsoft’s other TV foray, in the form of its IPTV software, is still a small business and has suffered from lack of IPTV pickup in U.S., and it reported its own software glitches. Also read this Seattle Times story for more details.

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