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Google Sells Radio Ad Business

The search giant is unloading its radio advertising and automation assets to WideOrbit.

After more than three years of trying and failing to make a success of its radio automation business, Google has sold it to WideOrbit, which provides business management software for media companies.

Announced Wednesday, the sale would appear to close a chapter in which Google paid $102 million for radio advertising company dMarc Broadcasting. As a measure of the high hopes Google and dMarc had for the radio ad business, the firms once said a successful rollout of the business would have called for Google to pay dMarc $1.136 billion over three years.

The announcement of Wednesday's sale was made by WideOrbit, which said the sale included Google Radio Automation assets as well as Google's Maestro and SS32 automation products. WideOrbit said the addition of Google Radio Automation enables WideOrbit to provide radio broadcasters with a comprehensive business solution.

"The acquisition of Google Radio Automation is key to WideOrbit's strategy to expand our product offering," said Eric Mathewson, founder and CEO of WideOrbit, in a statement.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but WideOrbit said there are 3,600 Google Radio Automation customers.

Google originally acquired the radio advertising operation from dMarc in January 2006 when the search engine firm's VP of advertising sales, Tim Armstrong, indicated that the partnership would bring "new ad dollars and accountability to radio" by combining Google's advertiser network with dMarc's team and technology. Armstrong recently left Google to take over AOL, which is being prepared to be spun off as a separate company by current parent Time Warner.

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