AT&T Inc. said on Friday it has named GroupM North America Chief Executive Brian Lesser as head of a new advertising and analytics company. GroupM is one of the largest media investment management organizations, applying data and technology to maximize ad value. AT&T didn't give much detail about the new business in its release, but Lesser will be charged with using AT&T's customer data and growing content assets to build an advertising and analytics business. AT&T is still waiting for its proposed $85.4 billion acquisition of media company Time Warner Inc. to clear regulatory review. The two companies have pointed to the advertising potential as an important part of the merger. "Once we complete our acquisition of Time Warner, we believe there is an opportunity to build an automated advertising platform that can do for premium video and TV advertising what the search and social media companies have done for digital advertising," said AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson in a statement. Shares of AT&T are down 10% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 index is up more than 10%
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