After losing out to Google in the bidding battle for DoubleClick, Microsoft reportedly has its eyes on 24/7 Real Media, another Internet advertising company, according to Holly Sanders at the NY Post:
Eager to catch up with Google and Yahoo!, Microsoft has emerged as a contender, along with ad giant WPP Group, to buy Internet ad firm 24/7 Real Media, The Post has learned.
WPP Group is a large advertising holding company which owns Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, Young & Rubicam, and JWT (formerly known as J. Walter Thompson Co.), as well as some PR firms, media buying firms, and market research companies.
Sources said the software giant is considering a price in the $1 billion range for 24/7 Media – a giant leap from the $600 million valuation analysts placed on the firm.
Microsoft, which has been kicking a lot of tires in the last few weeks, is getting serious about the ad firm after two of its fiercest rivals increased their online arsenals through similar acquisitions.
Yahoo! announced yesterday it would buy the 80 percent of online ad exchange Right Media it didn’t own for $680 million, valuing the entire firm at around $850 million. The acquisition follows Google’s $3.1 billion deal for DoubleClick, which serves up and tracks Web ads.
Microsoft’s deep pockets and fear of falling behind rivals could further drive up the price for 24/7 Real Media, one of the remaining players in the same space.
24/7 Real Media has an earnings release coming up on May 9, but lately they have been losing money. One wonders how much Microsoft will have to overpay to demonstrate that it’s really an Internet advertising player.