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Millennial Media CEO confirms buyout talks, but shares fall amid losses

Even though Millennial Media's top executive confirmed Tuesday that the company could soon be sold, shares of the mobile advertising company fell 24 percent a day after it reported that it continues to lose money at a steady pace.

The Baltimore firm lost $15.3 million in the quarter that ended June 30, on par with its losses in the same three months of 2014. Its revenue fell slightly in the quarter, to $65.9 million from $67.3 million in the second quarter of last year.

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The report erased a small surge in its stock price that had sprouted amid reports that AOL was in talks to buy Millennial. Shares closed at $1.29 each Tuesday, down from a close of $1.70 Monday afternoon.

Millennial CEO Michael Barrett declined to discuss specifics but said on a conference call that the company has been in talks with companies interested in an acquisition or other transactions.

"We've had a number of discussions with a variety of companies about potential strategic alternatives including the potential acquisition of Millennial Media," Barrett said. "We are not surprised that there is interest from other companies."

Millennial's stock price lost 90 percent of its value over 2013 and 2014 as Facebook, Apple and Google emerged as strong competitors in the battle to sell advertisers access to a growing number of smartphones and tablets. From its offices in Canton, the company makes technology that places ads targeting users by location and narrow demographics.

But shares rose more than 30 percent last month when media outlets citing anonymous sources said AOL, itself recently acquired by Verizon, was in talks to buy Millennial. AOL's advertising business has a significant presence in Baltimore that dates to Advertising.com, a former local startup it acquired in 2004.

But Barrett would not say what the future holds for Millennial.

"We will continue to explore and assess potential strategic alternatives in close collaboration with our board of directors keeping the best interest of our shareholders always in mind," he said.

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