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Advertising company Federated Media has sold its content-marketing business to LIN Media, the company announced today. Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Federated Media first gained notoriety through its early advertising partnerships with blog news sites almost a decade ago. Over the last few years, Federated has shifted away from doing display ads in favor of programmatic advertising. Now, the company is doing the same with its content marketing efforts, which include sponsored or promoted content.

As for Federated’s sale, it’s an interesting move — and one that may show that sponsored content is best handled in-house by each publication rather than by an ad network.

As part of the sale, Federated is also renaming its programmatic ad business Lijit into Sovrn, which will operate as an independent entity. Current Federated Media CEO and founder John Battelle will become Sovrn’s chairman, while former Lijit chief operating officer Walter Knapp will assume the role of CEO. The sale of its content marketing arm will also shift Federated Media into a portfolio company.

Federated said Sovrn’s programmatic ad platform sees 3 billion ad requests per day and 180 million U.S. monthly uniques. It also claims that the programmatic ad business grew 93 percent in 2013 compared to the previous year, and represents over 20,000 publishers.

The company said it plans to use money from today’s sale to, among other things, expand Sovrn’s reach hire additional employees.


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