A handful of analysts upgraded aQuantive today and several speculated the company will be acquired, now that DoubleClick is off the market.
I wonder if Microsoft is already exploring a crosstown deal. I heard that Steve Ballmer was the featured speaker at aQuantive’s annual client shindig, held in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, so they’ve had plenty of chances to get the conversation going.
On the other hand, buying a DoubleClick competitor would undercut Microsoft’s antitrust complaints about the Google deal. If Microsoft is interested in aQuantive, wouldn’t it wait a month or so until the feds decide whether to do anything about DoubleClick?
CIBC analyst Paul Keung said aQuantive will benefit whether or not it’s acquired, as its Atlas division picks up clients leaving DoubleClick, the AP reported.
Keung advised clients that the deal puts Atlas “into a critical role for MSN, Yahoo! and any player seeking to meaningfully compete against “GoogleClick” as a leading online ad service provider.”