When Google announced its intention to acquire DoubleClick six weeks ago, it sparked upheaval in the interactive marketing industry with aQuantive, Right Media, and 24/7 Real Media subsequently being gobbled up. Then two weeks ago, offline marketing powerhouses Acxiom and Epsilon's parent company, ADS announced that they will both be acquired by private equity companies for sizable chunks of change. So what’s going on in the marketing and media arena? And, is there a link to between these ‘old’ and ‘new’ media company deals?
As private equity deals, the Acxiom and ADS acquisitions are pretty distinct from those of the interactive marketing companies. Private equity has become a business story in its own right during the past few years, partly because of the factors that have enabled such a slew of PE deals – cash is easy to come by, credit is cheap, interest rates are low, and balance sheets are clean and relatively debt-free.