I thought there would be bubbly on the floor after the Seattle digital marketing firm blew past Wall Street estimates on Tuesday, but the floors were dry and nobody was dancing in the halls when I visited with Chief Executive Brian McAndrews a few hours after the earnings call.
Some highlights of the conversation:
More acquisitions are possible, even after aQuantive bought five companies over the past 15 months. “In general, yes, we expect that to be part of the plan,” he said.
Google’s purchase of DoubleClick led to speculation that aQuantive would be purchased next. McAndrews wouldn’t comment on this, but noted that aQuantive’s Atlas unit is now the last big independent ad-serving tool and that independence is valuable to advertisers.
“If that tool is owned by one of the places you’re sending your dollars, it certainly creates a conflict,” he said.
I asked about the challenge of managing a multi-threaded company like aQuantive, whose mission is hard to describe in a few lines.
“It is complex but the flip side of that is one of the reasons we’re doing so well is the industry is so complicated — complexity is our friend, because our job is making it easier for our clients,” he said. “If it was a simple thing, they wouldn’t need us, they’d just do it themselves.”
Microsoft is one potential suitor, Yahoo! could be another. I asked if McAndrews and Yahoo! boss Terry Semel were getting together when Semel’s in town this week for Microsoft’s ad summit.
“He’s at my house,” McAndrews joked, dismissively. “We’re playing tennis later.”