The trend that was started when Google bought DoubleClick may have finally run its course as Microsoft has announced the purchase of Aquantive for $6 billion. This is almost double the price that Google paid for DoubleClick, which was the original company that Microsoft wanted to buy. But because Microsoft took so long to get a deal done, the value of online advertising firms has gone way up. Not only has Aquantive been rallying on anticipation of a buyout, but Microsoft had to pay nearly an 80% premium to get the deal done. Also boosting the valuation is the fact that Aquantive recently turned in great quarterly results, which probably gave the company a lot of leverage during negotiations. At this point, there really aren't many independent companies like this left. Now attention will turn to Valueclick, although it's not clear that there's anyone left to buy them out, other than, perhaps, a traditional advertising firm looking to expand its internet business.
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