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Shopping, Microsoft has never spent so much

Shopping, Microsoft has never spent so much

In a surprise move, on Friday Microsoft announced that it was in the process of acquiring aQuantive, an American company based in Seattle, owner of some major brands for online advertising such as Avenue A – Razorfish and Atlas and with a portfolio of major customers such as McDonald’s and Nike .

BigM will pay $ 66.5 per share, almost double the market value on the US stock exchange, in a deal whose aggregate value exceeds six billion dollars : double what Google paid out for DoubleClick last month. This is the largest investment ever made by Microsoft in its history.

Microsoft will pay the aQuantive shares in cash – no problem for the Redmond company, whose coffers have cash over $ 30 billion in cash . In the past, Microsoft has always shown itself to be little inclined to large investments: experts therefore underline the importance that this considerable outlay must represent in the strategies of the company founded by Bill Gates.

Satisfaction was expressed by Microsoft through the words of one of its executives, Kevin Johnson: “This agreement takes our advertising business to a new level,” said the manager. a $ 40 billion pie that is still growing “. The company has also denied any risk of incurring antitrust actions, a possibility instead reiterated for the Google-DoubleClick case.

Microsoft’s move sounds to insiders just like Google’s response to that operation: the online advertising market appears today as one of the most lively and animated of the economic landscape (and studies seem to confirm the importance of banners and company). Recent moves by Yahoo and WPP would also prove this.

Yet this move by BigM does not convince everyone . On the pages of Forbes.com, Rachel Rosmarin and Brian Caulfield illustrate their analysis on the deal just announced: not only aQuantive will not guarantee Microsoft the stellar earnings that Google has already announced for the first quarter of the year, but would not guarantee any strategic advantage even in the sector that today more than any other appears to be profitable and promising, that of search marketing .

According to them, Microsoft would not have made a far-sighted choice: Google’s AdWords made the fortune of the Mountain View company, and choosing not to compete in this field could constitute a serious limit to BigM’s growth prospects in the sector.

Other acquisitions could benefit: however, a possible agreement with Yahoo, which would relaunch the prospects in competition on search engines, appears today more distant than ever, while the value of other companies specializing in online advertising continues to grow as in the case of ValueClick.

Opinion shared by Jonathan Dingman on Google Inside, who points out that the acquisition of DoubleClick by BigG was a strategic move to maintain its competitive advantage across the sector, while the choice of BigM instead appears as an attempt to remedy a stagnant situation for Microsoft adCenter.

Luca Annunziata