aQuantive: Who are these guys?

Summary:The instant messages and emails about Microsoft's $6 billion purchase of aQuantive go something like this:"Whoa that's a big deal.""I'd hate to be short aQuantive.

The instant messages and emails about Microsoft's $6 billion purchase of aQuantive go something like this:

  • "Whoa that's a big deal."
  • "I'd hate to be short aQuantive."
  • "If Microsoft was going to spend that much why didn't it just buy Doubleclick?"
  • "Who is aQuantive and where'd they come from?"

Most of the messages coalesce around that last question. The deal (Microsoft statement, Mary Jo Foley, news story and Techmeme roundup) caught folk

s by surprise.

With that in mind, here's a brief history lesson on aQuantive, a company that's not exactly a household name. But it's worth knowing a little something about aQuantive since it landed twice the amount of dough that DoubleClick got from Google. The dossier was culled from Securities and Exchange Commission filings. All earnings and revenue figures are annual.

1997: Company founded under the name Avenue A. it incorporates in Washington.

2000: Avenue A launches IPO during that bubbilious time for dot-coms. Company loses $43 million on revenue of $194.6 million. Revenue is up from $69.7 million in 1999.

2001: Avenue A establishes two business units, one focused on digital media services and another to sell its technology to others. Company loses $39.9 million on revenue of $89.6 million. For those keeping score at home Avenue A lost more than half its revenue in the dot-com carnage.

2002: Company loses $4.6 million on revenue of $132.6 million.

2003: Avenue A becomes aQuantive. Avenue A and Atlas, the company's ad technology tool business, become subsidiaries. Company reports net income of $11.8 million on revenue of $222 million.

2004: Creates a third business unit to measuring the ROI of digital media campaigns. Acquires NetConversions, a Web site usability technology provider; U.K.-based TechnologyBrokers and MediaBrokers, a firm that supported the company's Atlas platform; and SBI.Razorfish, a design and consulting firm. SBI.Razorfish is merged with Avenue A and rebranded Avenue A/Razorfish. Company reports net income of $42.8 million on revenue of $157.9 million.

2005: Acquires U.K.-based DNA, an interactive ad and web development agency. Company reports net income of $35 million on revenue of $308 million.

2006: Acquires a bevy of firms including Franchise Gator, a performance media company; Amnesia, an Australian interactive ad firm; Neue Digitale, a German interactive ad firm; and eCrusade, a Hong-Kong interactive ad firm. Aquantive also buys Accipiter Solutions, an ad-serving technology company. Company reports net income of $53.9 million on revenue of $442 million.

2007: On May 8, aQuantive reported net income of $14.2 million on revenue of $142.6 million.

Topics: Microsoft

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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