Just last week, there was a flurry of news about how Microsoft and Google were in a bidding war for DoubleClick, the onetime leader in internet advertising. According to people that were apparently close to the situation (always to be taken with a grain of salt), Microsoft had put in a bid for the company, only to be outbid by Google. Since then, however, there's been no news at all on the situation. Larry Dignan throws out some interesting possibilities of what might be going on here. One scenario is that one of the parties has basically secured a deal, but there's still some details to be worked out. It's also possible that Google only feigned interest in DoubleClick so that it could get an inside look at its operations. Another likely situation is that Microsoft and Google are basically fighting a war of words. Instead of actually being interested in acquiring DoubleClick, the two sides might be throwing out feelers just to see how the other side responds. DoubleClick isn't nearly as important as it used to be, but it's still big enough that both companies may not want the other to get its hands on it. Of course, unfulfilled acquisition rumors are thrown out on a daily basis, so it remains possible that the story is completely groundless, in which case DoubleClick's private equity owners better hope that the company's plan to be the NASDAQ of internet advertising takes off. Update: It turns out that the deal has materialized, and Google is the winner. It's paying a whopping $3.1 billion for the company, making it by far the biggest acquisition in the company's history; that's nearly twice as much as it paid for YouTube.
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