A Buyout Firm Will Acquire DoubleClick
Private equity firm Hellman & Friedman LLC will acquire DoubleClick as part of an estimated $1.1 billion deal, and current DoubleClick CEO Kevin Ryan will step down after the deal is complete. Under the terms of the agreement DoubleClick stockholders will receive $8.50 in cash for each share of the company's common stock, representing a 10.6 percent premium over the average closing price of DoubleClick's stock for the last 30 trading days, according to the company. DoubleClick's board of directors approved the transaction and the company plans for the deal to close sometime in the third quarter. VC firm JMI Equity also will invest in the deal as a minority owner.
DoubleClick had been looking at several equity firms and strategic buyers for about six months, Ryan said during a conference call today. "Hellman & Friedman have a great reputation," he said. "They have raised and managed more than $8 billion, [and have] a focused effort in marketing services. That will see DoubleClick into its next phase of growth and expansion."
Gareth Herschel, a Gartner research director, is skeptical about DoubleClicks' long-term strategic goals. "Strategically, the question is where are they going and what do they want to look like as a company." If DoubleClick had decided to sell off its SmartPath enterprise marketing tools and its Abacus direct marketing products, according to Herschel, that may have muddied the waters for Unica and Aprimo--instead, those vendors can bank on the fact their competitor doesn't know where it's headed and potential customers won't really know who they're going to have to deal with in the end.
DoubleClick President David Rosenblatt will oversee the TechSolutions division when Ryan leaves; Brian Rainey will lead the Data Solutions division. A new board of directors and chairman will be appointed to oversee both departments.
Ryan applauded his colleagues' intimate knowledge of the company, but Herschel says leaving them in charge means "it will be more of the same" until the new board comes on and the investment firm determines where the company wants to go.
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