After DoubleClick; Who Could Be the Next Buyout Target?

DoubleClick is now not just under potential bidding by Microsoft (MSFT-NASDAQ).  Google (GOOG-NASDAQ) is now interested according to reports, and our own Douglas McIntyre was pointing out earlier how Microsoft “can’t afford to lose the bidding” for DoubleClick.  The reported prices are said to be near $2 Billion, but Time Warner’s (TWX-NYSE) AOL unit and Yahoo! (YHOO) may be (or may have been) interested.

Let’s pretend for a moment that Google ends up winning.  This will be a blow to Microsoft and to Yahoo!, but the good news is that DoubleClick has competitors too. 

aQuantive (AQNT-NASDAQ), ValueClick (VCLK-NASDAQ) and 24/7 RealMedia (TFSM-NASDAQ) are all competitors.  A DoubleClick in the hands ofeither Google or Microsoft would potentially make DoubleClick the mostvaluable and entrenched company in the online ad space arena, but itwould potentially increase the relative value of these others.

VCLK: $2.6 Billion market cap; Online advertising and programs forlarge advertisers and ad agencies in Media, Affiliate Marketing,Comparison Shopping, and Technology.

AQNT: $2.2 Billion market cap; Online advertising for large directadvertisers and ad agencies: Digital Marketing Services, DigitalMarketing Technologies, and Digital Performance Media.

TFSM: $408 Million market cap; used to be referred to as “the poorman’s DoubleClick” and was the most direct competitor in the past.Banner and online media ads for advertisers and ad agencies.

Microsoft probably shouldn’t allow DoubleClick to go to a competitorlike Google win out in the deal, even if private equity firm Hellman& Friedman may almost double their investment since mid-2005 whenit acquired the online advertiser for a cool $1.1 Billion.  Even ifMicrosoft does win out over Google, all of these others could be fairgame in a land grab in the online ad world. 

The bidding is reportedly set to be over in the coming days, so theend results may be known quite soon.  Hellman & Friedman may alsotake DoubleClick public again as another strategy.

Jon C. Ogg
April 2, 2007

Jon Ogg can be reached at; he does not own securities in the companies he covers.

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