I had thought that Microsoft had declined to match or beat the $3.1 billion offer that won DoubleClick for Google. I couldn’t understand why because the stakes are so high here. But John Battelle says something very provocative — they did match the offer — that raises a bunch of unanswered questions:
This raises a very important question – why didn’t Microsoft match Google’s $3.1 billion offer. Smith would not comment on this, but I can report from very good sources that in fact the company did offer to match it, and was willing to pay even more to insure that Google did not corner the online ad market. But for whatever reasons, the private equity firm that owned the majority of DoubleClick’s shares decided to go with Google. I have more detail on how that deal went back and forth – it involves a no shop deal between Google and Doubleclick, for example, but I have heard strong assertions that the owners of DoubleClick did not get the highest and best price for their asset. But that is now history. In short, it’s clear Microsoft has the cash to match or even beat Google at this game, but did not in the end win the asset. Why? That’s for another post.