According to dual reports from BusinessInsider and AllThingsD, Facebook is in talks to buy Atlas Solutions, Microsoft's ad platform. Atlas, part of Microsoft's $6.2 billion acquisition of aQuantive back in 2007, could position Facebook to grow its business and compete with Google's vast targeted ad network, AdSense.
Picking up a Web-wide ad platform would make perfect sense for Facebook, which drummed up 85% of its revenue last year from advertising. Even more important, such an ad network would allow Facebook to use its information on more than 1 billion users to serve targeted ads on sites outside of Facebook.com. Proving the company knows how to make money selling ads on the Web at large could help boost investor confidence and keep the wind in the sails of Facebook's share price.
Considering that from mid-2011 to mid-2012, Microsoft's ad division hemmorhaged almost $2 billion Microsoft is no doubt chomping at the bit to unload Atlas - the company has failed to turn a profit peddling ads for the five years it has owned the platform.
Whether or not the deal ever comes to fruition, it seems to make sense for both companies.