Google May Buy DoubleClick Out From Under Microsoft

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Google is now puportedly in the running to purchase the privately held online display advertising company DoubleClick, and is trying to beat Microsoft to the punch, said the Wall Street Journal, which predicts the bidding war to drive the company’s price beyond $2 billion.

Hellman & Friedman, DoubleClick’s current owners, paid $1.1 billion for it in 2005, and the Journal suggests that Google’s interest could price out Microsoft, which recently announced it would be spending about $1.1 billion to develop its internet assets, including its current advertising platform. Other possible buyers include Yahoo and AOL.

While Google’s service is focused on pay-per-click ads that charge advertisers for ads based on the number of user interactions they generate, DoubleClick focuses on static display advertising and charges based on the number of impressions.

DoubleClick boasts more than 1,500 ad clients and earned more than $100 million last year, but Hellman & Friedman already sold off part of the company in 2006 for $90 million, so DoubleClick’s final sale price may not reflect the company’s actual value.

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