As we discuessed before, ATS fails to build from source if --as-needed is passed to the linking flags. This issue was originally reported by Ubuntu folks in Debian and hereby forwarded by me. For reference, the issue in Debian has been reported as #632546.
Note it is not enough to add this linking flag to LDFLAGS as those are honored too late. --as-needed only works if passed before every other -llibrary argument.
The reporter of the bug supplied a patch which fixes this issue for the release tarball in as_needed.patch (credited to Ilya Barygin <email@example.com>) which, I can confirm, fixes the issue for the release tarball. I haven't tried for the SVN trunk which has not (yet) compiled the .in files from autoconf.