Microsoft today announced the acquisition of aQuantive, an online advertising and marketing company, for approximately $6 Billion in cash. Founded in 1997, aQuantive, Inc. (NASDAQ: AQNT) is primarily known for its three brand names; Atlas and DRIVEpm for advertisers and publishers, and Avenue A / Razorfish, one of the largest online ad agencies.
The Microsoft press release included this quote from Steve Ballmer. “The advertising industry is evolving and growing at an incredible pace, moving increasingly toward online and IP-served platforms, which dramatically increases the importance of software for this industry,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “Today’s announcement represents the next step in the evolution of our ad network from our initial investment in MSN, to the broader Microsoft network including Xbox Live, Windows Live and Office Live, and now to the full capacity of the Internet. Microsoft is intensely committed to creating a thriving advertising business and to partnering closely with all key constituencies in this industry to help maximize the digital advertising opportunity for all.”
MarketWatch reports "In 2006, the company's revenue jumped more than 43% to $442.2 million, following a 95% gain the year before that. For the current year, aQuantive has forecast an increase in sales of as much as 39% to $615 million. The firm is already profitable."
It is important to note that aQuantive is located in Seattle close to Microsoft's MSN and Live Services groups. This will make integration and coordination much easier. aQuantive has 2,600 employees.