Yahoo To Acquire Online Ad Exchange Right Media For $680 Million; Follows ’06 Strategic Investment

Last October, Yahoo acquired 20 percent of Right Media Inc., creator of the Right Media Exchange, by leading a $45 million second round. Now, the not-unexpected announcement that Yahoo has a deal to buy the 80 percent it doesn’t own. The price tag: approximately $680 million, payable to shareholders in equal amounts of cash and stock. Yahoo will assume Right Media options and equity awards.

With the move, Yahoo hopes to extend its online ad reach even more on and off the network and to bolster its leadership image. From the prepared statement of Chairman and CEO Terry Semel, under increasing pressure to deliver on promises: “The acquisition of Right Media will further Yahoo’s goal to create the industry’s most open, accessible and vibrant advertising marketplace, which will help democratize the buying and selling of digitally enabled advertising.”

The subtext woven throughout the release: Yahoo as the anti-Google. Susan Decker, the outgoing CFO who now heads the advertising and publisher group, describes it as being in Yahoo’s “strong financial interest to make sure there is a widely adopted, neutral, frictionless exchange that enables publishers and advertisers to benefit from a basket of the best solutions rather than having to accept a single solution from one of the larger players.” Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.

Back in 2006, Michael Walrath, CEO and founder of Right Media, said of the investment: