Mobile ad firms unite! Millennial Media to buy rival Jumptap

Millennial Media is buying its smaller rival mobile advertising rival Jumptap in a mostly stock deal valued at more than $200 million. The two will team up just as Google looks set to completely dominate the mobile advertising market.

While Millennial is the largest independent mobile ad network apart from Google, that’s not saying much. According to a recent eMarketer analysis, Google held about 50 percent of both U.S. and global mobile ad market share in 2012, followed by the app-specific ad networks run by Facebook(s fb), Twitter, Pandora and YP. Millennial rounded out the bottom with 1.2 percent of the U.S. mobile ad revenues and less than 1 percent of global revenues. What’s more eMarketer forecasted its share would shrink in the coming years.

Those stark numbers led GigaOM Research’s Colin Gibbs to predict in June that Millennial would soon be looking for buyer rather than a buyout target. While becoming part of another company is definitely still a possibility, it looks like Millennial plans to fight it out a little longer as an independent despite Google’s looming shadow.

Buying Jumptap won’t necessarily get it any closer to challenging Google’s dominance, but it will give it some new toys to play with. Jumptap is a targeted mobile ad platform that uses third-party data to build detailed profiles on about 100 million mobile users. And as Millennial Media CEO and president Paul Palmieri pointed out the mobile ad market is just getting off the ground.

“Millennial Media already runs one of the largest third-party digital media businesses, despite mobile being in its early stages,” Palmieri said in a statement. “Jumptap’s expertise in performance, cross-screen, real-time bidding and third-party data fit well with, and provide incremental scale to Millennial Media’s existing platform.”