AOL Looking to Buy Online Ad Network

tm_5765_aoltimewarner2003ny.jpg2007 continues to shape up as the year of the acquisition.

Reuters is reporting that Time Warner is seeking to purchase an online ad unit to bolster their new emphasis on advertising rather than the subscription model of revenue for their AOL division.

“We are looking for horizontal opportunities to strengthen our position in the advertising space,” Parsons said at the Credit Suisse media and telecom conference in New York.

Who fits the bill for this?   First, the size requirement.  Is AOL thinking a Madison Ave sized online ad company, a ValueClick sized company or something along the lines of ShareASale or Azoogle?

Asked by the moderator if there were any “size limitations” to its potential acquisition targets, Parsons said, “No. Almost anything you could think of other than the really big, established portals is within striking distance for us.”

To me, this signals AOL is looking at properties outside their normal range.  However, the network AOL would acquire would have to be broad enough to supply enough reach and impressions, without much increased funding, to fit the market need.

It still seems early in the process, but this snippet also gives more clues…

He declined to specify which companies it will consider. But he told Reuters in an interview last week that Time Warner is looking at so-called ad insertion technology that lets companies place ads that are relevant to a particular viewer’s tastes.

This sounds more along the lines of a rich media entity rather than a pay per performance or affiliate network, or at least a network or media company with the ability to provide both horizontal reach and multimedia tracking such as by a video unit.

Maybe it is ValueClick?

What about

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