|Microsoft: Avenue A/ Razorfish Is Complementary to Us|
Microsoft had earlier lost out on the bidding for DoubleClick to Google. AQuantive's assets include the Atlas ad server, the second largest of its type in the country and the only other ad server with an agency product that has scale.
After losing out in its bid for DoubleClick to Google, Microsoft's acquisition of aQuantive brings it in line with its rivals.
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AQuantive also includes creative and media services through its Avenue A/Razorfish division -- it recently broke into the top 10 marketing organizations, as recently ranked by Advertising Age, the first time a dedicated interactive organization had cracked the list.
The third leg of aQuantive's business is an online ad network, DrivePM.
The price represents a steep multiple and premium. AQuantive shareholders will receive $66.50 in cash. AQuantive's stock had been rising and closed yesterday at $35.87. In pre-market trading it was up 77% to $63.60.
AQuantive CEO Brian McAndrews said the deal was the equivalent of going from gasoline fuel to rocket fuel in an early morning conference call regarding the deal.
Value of online ad space
Microsoft's president-platforms and services, Kevin Johnson, said the company believes there is lots of value that can be unlocked by owning the complete end-to-end solution in the online advertising space.
"This puts us in a very well positioned environment to accelerate progress on delivering those end to end solutions," he said.
Additionally, Microsoft is investing heavily in online software services, many of which will be monetized using online advertising.