Another day, another giant acquisition.
This is a big one: Microsoft buys aQuantive for $6 billion in an all cash transaction. In fact it’s the largest transaction in Microsoft’s history. Microsoft apparently won a competitive bidding situation (other bidders weren’t disclosed). From the press release:
The aQuantive acquisition enables Microsoft to strengthen relationships with advertisers, agencies and publishers by enhancing the Company’s world-class advertising platforms and services beyond its current capabilities to serve MSN. The acquisition also provides Microsoft increased depth in building and supporting next generation advertising solutions and environments such as cross media planning, video-on-demand and IPTV. Combining aQuantive’s technologies and services with Microsoft’s portfolio will provide value for the industry’s key constituencies as follows:
- Advertisers and ad agencies will benefit from a world-class media planning, buying and campaign management solution to drive maximum ROI and optimize their reach to audiences across the increasingly fragmented, interactive media landscape.
- Media owners/publishers will gain access to best-in-class inventory optimization and monetization solutions across a full suite of rich media, video and targeting capabilities.
- The broader advertising ecosystem will benefit from the leading interactive advertising agency, Avenue A | Razorfish, continuing to serve its impressive client roster, while also embedding the voice of the marketer into Microsoft’s next generation advertising solutions and services.
The consolidation continues . . . and when the dust settles there will only be a small number of very large firms that control 90%+ of all online advertising. I’ve made notes from the conference call at SEL (scroll).
This deal makes Microsoft a contender rather than an “also ran” in online advertising. It gives the company powerful reach and a variety of human and technology assets, but it doesn’t do anything to improve the company’s competitive position on the consumer side.