May 18, 2007 by Stan Schroeder
Microsoft has just acquired advertising network aQuantive for a whopping $6 billion – a valuation of about 10x revenues. It’s an obvious answer to Google’s recent purchase of DoubleClick, and it proves that every big IT company which does something on the web must acquire an ad network. Soon there will be only two or three big guys fighting it out – ironic, since Microsoft feigned opposition to Google’s DoubleClick buy saying it would create a monopoly. Let’s look at a quick history of similar acquisitions:
April 2003: Google buys Applied Semantics, a foundation on which AdSense will later be built, for $70 million.
January 2006: Google buys dMarc Broadcasting, which specializes in automated advertising systems, for $70 million
April 2006: Microsoft buys Massive, a company that does in-game advertising, for $200+ million.
October 2006: Yahoo Acquires Adinterax. Price not disclosed.
February 2007: Google buys AdScape, ad network which specializes in in-game advertising, for $23 million.
April 2007: Google buys Doubleclick for $3.1 billion; generally thought to be a major victory for Google, since Microsoft supposedly also wanted to acquire Doubleclick.
April 2007: Yahoo buys RightMedia for $680 million. It now seems like a modest number compared to Google and Microsoft’s acquisitions.
May 2007: WPP Group acquires 24/7 Real Media for $649 million.
May 2007: Microsoft acquires aQuantive for $6 billion
It sure paid off to build an advertising network in the last couple of years, didn’t it?