Friday the 13th was indeed an unlucky day for Google's display-advertising rivals, particularly Yahoo (which leads Google in display ads) and Microsoft (which has pretensions of challenging both). The search giant trod mightily onto their turf Friday, announcing a $3.1 billion acquisition of the original online ad management firm DoubleClick.
That price is 20 times DoubleClick's estimated revenues of $150 million, triple the amount that private equity firm Hellman & Friedman spent to buy DoubleClick in 2005, and a $1 billion more than the reported asking price, points out BusinessWeek.
But it's not too high a price for what would amount to a virtual monopoly in online advertising: Google is already the master of the search advertising universe, while DoubleClick is the leading system lord in display ad management - with "relationships with virtually every major online publisher and more than half of the online ad agencies," according to Tacoda chairman Dave Morgan.
"It's the two juggernauts in search and display getting together," the New York Times quotes Martin Reidy, president of Publicis Groupe's Modem Media, as saying. RBC Capital Markets analyst Jordan Rohan adds, "Keeping Microsoft away from DoubleClick is worth billions to Google."
The $3.1 billion acquisition is the biggest in Google's history (nearly twice what it paid for YouTube), ClickZ writes. It points out that one of the main factors slowing Google's growth beyond search had been its reticence to work with third-party ad servers - but the acquisition of DoubleClick would eliminate that concern.
"DoubleClick's technology is widely adopted by leading advertisers, publishers and agencies, and the combination of the two companies will accelerate the adoption of Google's innovative advances in display advertising," Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in a statement.
Google also issued an extensive FAQ (pdf) regarding its acquisition of DoubleClick.