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May 18, 2007

Microsoft acquires Internet ad firm aQuantive

Posted by David Hunter at 12:29 PM ET.

Just yesterday I was bemoaning the fact that Microsoft kept getting left at the altar in the Internet ad business consolidation that’s currently going on, but all that changed today as Microsoft raided its piggy bank for $6 billion in cash in order to acquire aQuantive Inc. at roughly twice its current market cap in what is Microsoft’s largest ever acquisition.

Such a premium leads to considerations that Microsoft overpaid but that of course depends on what aQuantive brings to the partnership and how well it fits in with the Microsoft family. This first part is more easily answered as aQuantive has three moderately well known brands for its services: 

How well these fit into the Microsoft family is a different question, but they seem fairly complementary for Microsoft in both its role as a content publisher and as an online advertising service as they “will be able to better monetize Microsoft inventory, and will now be able to sell display ads on third party sites.”

As far as the people go, aQuantive is conveniently headquartered in Seattle and Brian McAndrews, CEO of aQuantive, will be reporting directly to Kevin Johnson, the president of Microsoft’s Platforms & Services Division so that for the moment they will have some protection from the inevitable jostling with the MSN Digital Advertising Solutions crew. In fact, Microsoft has been an aQuantive customer in the past so the meld may be easier than one might expect.

Filed under Acquisitions, Advertising, Coopetition, Executives, General Business, Kevin Johnson, Microsoft, aQuantive

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9 Responses to “Microsoft acquires Internet ad firm aQuantive”

  1. The Naked SEO Guide from Netpaths » Microsoft Buys Webdesign Firm for 6 Billion Says:

    [...] The online advertising world is as stunned as I am. [...]

  2. FTC investigates Google acquisition of DoubleClick -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Microsoft’s subsequent acquisition of aQuantive Inc figures prominently in the talking points. [...]

  3. FTC to review Microsoft’s acquisition of aQuantive -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Perhaps Microsoft executives should be careful of what they wish for. They famously suggested an antitrust investigation of Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick and got their wish. Now John R. Wilke and Kevin J. Delaney at the Wall Street Journal are reporting that the FTC is looking into other recent acquisitions in the Internet advertising industry including Microsoft’s blockbuster acquisition of aQuantive. [...]

  4. Microsoft’s aQuantive deal avoids further Fed scrutiny -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Microsoft and proposed acquisition aQuantive today announced that the 30 day review period had passed without a second request for information from the Federal Trade Commission and thereby the acquisition has been approved in the USA. There are still other regulatory hoops to jump through overseas, but they avoided the detailed scrutiny that some 3rd parties had requested. Filed under Acquisitions, Coopetition, Legal, Governmental Relations, General Business, Antitrust, Microsoft, aQuantive [...]

  5. aQuantive’s profits tank in second quarter -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Microsoft’s forthcoming acquisition, aQuantive, the Web advertising firm, surprised analysts today when it announced that second quarter profits fell by 22% due to ballooning costs despite revenues that were up 48%. This won’t stop the deal, but casts doubt on the wisdom of the $6 billion dollar price tag.   Filed under Acquisitions, Coopetition, General Business, Financial, Microsoft, aQuantive   [Permalink] [TrackBack] [...]

  6. aQuantive’s McAndrews takes over Microsoft Web advertising -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Last week, the aQuantive shareholders voted their approval of the company’s acquisition by Microsoft (as well they might since the offer was roughly twice aQuantive’s market cap). Today, Microsoft announced completion of the acquisition and the creation of a new Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group with former aQuantive CEO Brian McAndrews as the newly anointed Microsoft Web Ad Czar. [...]

  7. Yahoo acquires BlueLithium Web ad network -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Yahoo continued the current Web ad network consolidation surge (viz Google buys DoubleClick, Microsoft acquires aQuantive) with today’s announcement of the $300 million purchase of BlueLithium which is reportedly the fifth largest Web ad network in the US and the second largest in the UK. Todd Teresi, SVP, Yahoo! Publisher Network, has more details at the Yodel Anecdotal blog.   Filed under Coopetition, General Business, Yahoo, Ad-supported software, Microsoft   [Permalink] [TrackBack] [...]

  8. Cash burning a hole in Microsoft’s pocket? -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] The apparent rationale according to Lauria’s sources is that Microsoft really needs a big deal to prove its mettle, but the Microsoft board won’t approve three multibillion dollar deals in one year and since the aQuantive acquisition counts as one, it’s either Facebook or Yahoo. [...]

  9. Microsoft to swap Avenue A|Razorfish for WPP’s Open AdStream? | Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] with the WPP Group to swap some misfits they picked up in their respective acquisitions of aQuantive and 24/7 Real Media: Almost six months after the companies started talking, WPP and Microsoft have [...]

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