Google Takes DoubleClick for $3.1 Billion

I'll admit.  I had my money on Microsoft taking DC as a technology solution to their ad serving need.  And I think if the deal were only about technology, Microsoft would have made a solid suitor.  But DoubleClick brings Google much more than an ad serving solution.  What's my take on this deal?

*Google wins.  We've been watching Yahoo! and MSN chase Google since paid search marketing exploded as a marketing channel and major revenue source for the three portals.  This deal ends the race.  With its DoubleClick purchase Google extends its capabilities into online display advertising and completes its set of online services.

*Its not about the technology.  Google already had ad serving.  This deal gives Google access to publishers outside of its current AdSense network and to behavioral data that will help them with ad targeting.

*Now Google can move offline.  I agree with Charlene Li on this one.  With the online space locked up, Google can focus on maturing its current offline efforts and on defining its next moves into traditional channels.

*MSN and Yahoo!focus on driving loyalty with their users and advertisers.  Instead of constantly trying to out-Google, Google, this deal will push Google far enough ahead that Yahoo! and MSN will finally accept their second and third place positions and invest in retaining customers and providing value to existing advertisers.

*Google will have to maintain consumer trust.  Indeed Google is after consumer data with this deal which means consumer privacy concerns.  But protecting their personal information is always in the control of users, no matter what ad network or media player is looking to gather it.  Consumers are willing to share data with marketers or media sites as long as the benefit for doing so is clear and their data is not abused.  This will hold true with Google too as long as it continues to provide great service and not overstep its bounds with its customers.

*The price is actually a reasonable one to shore up Google's leadership.  After my initial gasp at the $3.1 billion price tag, my second thought was that Hellman & Friedman are geniuses.  This was exactly their intent when they purchased DoubleClick two years ago for $1.1 billion.  And they made about a 300% return after cleaning up and selling all of DoubleClick's parts.  While 3.1 billion reeks of "bubble 2.0 ness," it actually feels like a worthy price for Google to pay to block MSN's bid and ensure it stands alone as the king in this space.

Comments

re: Google Takes DoubleClick for $3.1 Billion

Not much has been said about Microsoft's lost financial opportunity. The basic issue for Microsoft should not have been the price tag for DC, as apparently it was, but the impact the acquisition might have had on correcting a fundamental problem. MSFT is stuck in the rut between software/servers with Oracle's value/revenue multiple of 7 and gaming with Nintendo’s v/r multiple of 4. Buying DC even at $4 billion could have put it on track to Google’s v/r multiple of 14 in the search/advertising space. MSFT was sidelined by Google … again. Readers are invited to check out my analysis at http://customersandcapital.com/.