Microsoft Drops Big Bag O’Money For aQuantive
Talk about throwing money around: Microsoft just plunked down $6 billion for digital marketing company aQuantive, Inc. The Beast of Redmond plans to wield this new weapon to develop an Internet-wide advertising platform.
The purchase is especially interesting as it follows Google’s $3.1 billion pickup of DoubleClick, which led Microsoft to moan about anti-trust concerns. (We wondered then if it was just sour grapes as Mr. Softy had reportedly outbid, but still lost to, Google.)
The software giant spins on its heels and swallows aQuantive instead, for $66.50 per share in an all-cash transaction. If you haven’t heard of aQuanitive itself, you may have heard of some of its subsidiaries:
Atlas – Known for its Atlas Media Console, an ROI maximization toolset for advertisers and publishers.
Drivepm – A contextual advertising service provider.
Avenue A | Razorfish – One of the largest interactive ad agencies known for some pretty creative work. The Coors Silver Bullet Happy Hour Train comes to mind.
“The advertising industry is evolving and growing at an incredible pace, moving increasingly toward online and IP-served platforms, which dramatically increases the importance of software for this industry,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
“Today’s announcement represents the next step in the evolution of our ad network from our initial investment in MSN, to the broader Microsoft network including Xbox Live, Windows Live and Office Live, and now to the full capacity of the Internet.”
Microsoft has worked with Avenue A | Razorfish in the recent past. Its hilariously titled (hilarious if you speak Japanese) ZenZui, Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s forthcoming iPhone, was the center of one of the more recent promotional partnerships.