AOL

has pulled out of its $900m takeover bid for

TradeDoubler

after failing to gain the necessary level of support from the affiliate marketing group’s shareholders.

The internet group’s offer, made in January, relied on it gaining at least 90% of TradeDoubler’s equity, but was rejected by investors representing around 20% of the Swedish company’s capital. The approval deadline passed on March 14.

An AOL spokesman told Reuters:

“We made a full and fair offer, and we always said we didn’t plan to raise it. Our Advertising.com business in Europe is growing rapidly, and this will not affect our plans to aggressively expand it.”

AOL had hoped to use the deal to boost its online advertising presence in Europe, after paring down its reliance on subscription revenues.

TradeDoubler has built one of Europe’s largest affiliate networks, as well as more recently moving into other areas such as online display advertising. Had the deal gone ahead, the deal would have extended the European footprint of Advertising.com, the ad network AOL bought in 2004.

When announcing the offer in January, Randy Falco, chairman and CEO of AOL, said:

“This investment provides a unique opportunity for both TradeDoubler and us to capitalise on the continued rapid growth in online advertising and e-commerce in Europe.

“We believe that TradeDoubler will be complementary with our other businesses, especially with our third-party advertising network – Advertising.com.”