Microsoft’s aQuantive Buy: Yipes!
Six billion dollars for aQuantive puts Microsoft into the mix with Google, Yahoo, and newly-minted online advertising power WPP to battle over third party ad serving.
"When the Lo/Rez machine decides to throw money at a problem, money will be thrown. Usually in the wrong direction."
-- Arleigh McCrae has some misgivings about her organization's free-spending ways in William Gibson's Idoru.
Microsoft will spend $6 billion dollars for aQuantive, which includes Avenue A/Razorfish and a couple of other notable online ad-related businesses. Atlas and DRIVEpm are part of the deal, as noted by Jason Lee Miller earlier.
So the third party ad industry looks like this: DoubleClick goes to Google, reportedly for money equal to a Microsoft offer, for $3.1 billion. Yahoo scoops up what it doesn’t already own of Right Media for $680 million. WPP spends $649 million on 24/7 Real Media to give Martin Sorrell another piece for his marketing empire.
Chump change. Amateurs. When it comes to spending money, Microsoft doesn’t throw a block party. It razes the block, plows up the land, dumps salt on ever square inch, and vaporizes it from orbit.
The $6 billion cash (CASH!) Microsoft will spend to pick up aQuantive for about $66.50 per share blows away the other three deals cited.
There is one point on which Microsoft feels its buy is different than the Google/DoubleClick deal, which Microsoft thinks could violate antitrust regulations. TechCrunch picked up on this exchange between Microsoft and Bear Stearns during a conference call about aQuantive:
Bear Stearns question: does this affect MS