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AOL withdraws TradeDoubler offer

AOL has withdrawn its offer to buy TradeDoubler after failing to get enough of the online marketer's shareholders to approve the acquisition.
In mid-January, the Time Warner subsidiary announced that it offered $900 million for the Swedish provider of online marketing sales and services. The combination would complement AOL's existing European online advertising effort, which is built upon an earlier acquisition of Advertising.com, and allow it to offer advertisers a wider range of services, AOL said.
At the time of the announcement, AOL had garnered the approval of 20 percent of TradeDoubler's shares. In addition, TradeDoubler's board recommended the offer.
In late February, after winning approval from all necessary competition authorities, AOL extended its offer until March 14.
But on Wednesday, AOL said it had received acceptances from the owners of only "a limited number of shares" and since it was clear that it wouldn't reach the 90 percent threshold it set as a contingency of the deal, the company decided to withdraw the offer.
The TradeDoubler bid followed a change of strategy at AOL. The portal operator recently sold its ISP businesses in Europe and began offering its content services free of charge to users. AOL is also offering services, such as online advertising sales management and the supply of content, to Internet service providers for use in their portals. Through Advertising.com, it also offers search engine management and lead generation services.
TradeDoubler sells services including hosted tools that make it easier for customers to create, manage, analyze and optimize online marketing and sales activity.
While TradeDoubler said AOL's offer represented a 20 percent premium on the value of shares, some shareholders may be looking for even more since the company recently recorded significant growth and expects to do the same in coming years. TradeDoubler revenues in 2006 increased by 61 percent compared to the previous year and the company expects 40 percent to 50 percent growth this year.

2007-03-15

 

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