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DoubleClick Dumps Abacus At A Loss

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Privacy concerns rendered DoubleClick’s $1.7 billion purchase of Abacus in 1999 a losing proposition; now, DoubleClick has agreed to sell its Abacus unit to Alliance Data Systems for $435 million.

When DoubleClick grabbed Abacus near the end of the first dot-com bubble, they must have thought the transactional data managed by Abacus would help them enrich their ad capabilities. If you knew enough about what transactions people have made, you could predict what they might buy next.

But as Reuters reported, DoubleClick probably picked the worst possible time to make that acquisition. Worries about privacy and the usage and re-usage of personal information gained very public attention.

That contributed to make Abacus a far less useful component of DoubleClick than it may have been otherwise. The private equity owners of DoubleClick must have decided Abacus would never yield the dividends the once-publicly traded DoubleClick had dreamed of nine years ago.

This isn’t the first time Alliance Data Systems has come calling at DoubleClick’s doorstep. Back in February 2006, Alliance Data picked up the Email Solutions division from DoubleClick for $90 million.

The data Alliance Data Systems holds in its Epsilon division, which Abacus will join, fills a database with information on 227 million American consumers. Odds are that if you’re reading this, you’re in there.

Abacus has been an information provider to online retailers and other businesses. In becoming part of Alliance’s Epsilon, Alliance Data expects to apply Abacus services to several non-retail verticals, like finance, pharmaceutical, and travel.

They certainly managed to make it happen at a substantial discount compared to DoubleClick’s initial purchase.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

DoubleClick Dumps Abacus At A Loss


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  • http://naveenandrews34.googlepages.com/ Thomas

    thanks! i wasted a good part of yesterday until i found this article.

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