Google Inc. said Friday that it would purchase Internet services company DoubleClick Inc. for $3.1 billion, marking another big foray into the heart of the Web economy.
The price represents a stunning change in valuation for the company, given that it fetched $1.1 billion in 2005, and has since sold off parts of itself to other parties. Among others, Microsoft Corp., had been vying for control of New York-based DoubleClick, which is controlled by San Francisco private-equity firm Hellman & Friedman.
Even as the Internet economy enters its second decade, the price shows just how valuable important market positions can still be. In adding DoubleClick, Google pushes deeper into the business of placing, or “serving,” the electronic advertisements that dot Web sites.
But it also complicates Google’s already fraught relationships with Web publishers, who often rely on Google for advertising revenue and traffic, but worry that Google’s ever-growing market power may somehow crimp their own growth plans.
This purchase requires a lot of thought. Will Google make the service free? Did it buy the service mainly for the data about display advertising – data it wants so it can drive efficiencies into that market? The price is way over the whisper number last week – did Google once again outbid its competition? Looks that way. The price is cash – not stock. Now Google has a major set of relationships with display advertisers.
But will they trust Google? My sources told me that Google was building its own, now it’s clear it wanted the relationships which came via a market leader. And to force me to eat my post, which I will do Monday when I can get home to a printer (yum).
More to come.