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Mobile Ads Join The IPO Boom As Millennial Looks For Public Investment

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Mobile ad company Millennial Media is going to try its hand in the public markets, filing papers Thursday for a $75 million initial public offering in hopes of raising cash to compete at a higher level. Registration documents show the company isn’t profitable but it posted a huge revenue increase over the last year as mobile app downloads soared.

It’s still very early days for mobile advertising, but the money tends to follow the eyeballs, and consumers are still snapping up smartphones and downloading mobile apps with aplomb. Millennial Media is second only to Google’s AdMob when it comes to putting ads on mobile screens, a business that earned it $69.1 million in revenue during the first nine months of 2011, according to the financial statements included with the registration papers.

The company is essentially breaking even, losing about $400,000 over that nine-month period but making money if you ignore pesky things like taxes and depreciation. Ads served through its technology reached 200 million unique users worldwide in December, and 100 million in the U.S.

As it does with several forms of digital advertising, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) dominates the mobile field with its AdMob holding. But mobile advertising is a game that is changing quite rapidly, eyed hungrily by those envious of how much time we spend engaged with our mobile devices.

And Millennial holds a bit of a trump card for those worried about the influence of Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Google over their mobile strategies: “We are the only one of the three principal mobile advertising platform companies that is not affiliated with a particular mobile operating system or set of devices,” Millennial said in its filing.

According to a source speaking to BusinessWeek, Millennial’s IPO could value it at between $750 million and $1 billion.