The internet advertising space has been consolidating this year, with a number of major acquisitions driven by the big chiefs at the likes of Microsoft, Google and WPP.

We’ve compiled a handy cut-out and keep list of the ones that caught our eye, all $12bn worth. I bet we’ve missed a few, so let us know if you have some others to suggest…


  • aQuantive – $6bn – May 2007

    This deal gave Microsoft ownership of ad technology provider Atlas; interactive agency AvenueA/Razorfish; and Drive PM, which provides targeting tools for internet advertisers and publishers.

    The purchase of Atlas is an especially significant move – it competes against DoubleClick’s technology platform, allowing advertisers to place ads more efficiently and publishers to better manage their inventory.

  • AdECN – undisclosed - July

    AdECN operates a virtual marketplace for display advertising, similar to the Right Media. It will also compete with the exchange set to be launched by Google after the Doubleclick deal.

    • ScreenTonic – undisclosed - MayScreen Tonic is a French company, founded in 2003, that provides advertising solutions for mobile phone platforms.

      The software giant has created a new ‘Advertiser and Publisher Solutions’ unit to promote its online ad platforms to publishers and brands and carry the fight to arch-rivals Google and Yahoo!.  


    • DoubleClick - $3.1bn (£1.5bn) – AprilThis deal, still subject to approval from US and European regulators, has been controversial, with competitors and privacy groups raising their concerns over the deal, and the dominance it gives Google over the online ad market.

      The deal gives Google a big display ad client base, and some estimate the company will control 83% of the contextual ad market after the deal goes through.

    • AdScape – $23m (£11.8m) – FebAdscape’s technology allows advertisers to place ads within games, as well as giving marketers the ability to measure ad performance. It doesn’t have any game publisher customers yet, but the deal gives Google the patents for Adscape’s technology and the experience and contacts of the current management team.

    WPP Group:

    • 24/7 RealMedia – $649m (£329m) - MayFounded in 1995, 24/7 Real Media provides digital media sales, search marketing, and technology – its media arm is one of the largest CPM media networks, with more than 950 participating sites and 115m monthly unique users worldwide.

      The deal will strengthen WPP’s position in online advertising, giving the group added technology and search marketing skills, as well as a presence in Asia.

    • Blast Radius – undisclosed – October
      Blast Radius, which employs 400 staff, is an interactive agency with experience in building ad campaigns for social networks. It will be aligned with WPP’s Wunderman network. 
    • Schematic -$100m – September
      Schematic specialises in creating ‘branded experiences’ on emerging digital platforms.

      It was recently hired by ITV to design its video-on-demand service and has also done work for the likes of ABC, MTV, CNN and Time Warner.


    • Adtech – undisclosed – May

      This is a further extension of AOL’s recent strategy, with the company moving away from its roots as an ISP to building up its interests in online advertising.

      The acquisition of Adtech provides the company with an ad serving platform which serves web publishers in 25 countries and allows them to manage and report on their online ad campaigns.

    • Tacoda – $275m – July
      Tacoda, located in New York, operates an online ad network based on behavioural targeting, and will be used by AOL to glean user data from its sites and those of its publishing partners.
    • Quigo – $340m (£162m) – Nov
      Quigo, which supplies search marketing tools and contextual placements on sites such as Time’s digital properties, will be integrated into AOL’s newly-formed Platform A ad network.
    • ThirdScreenMedia – $80m – MayA mobile advertising network and ad-serving management platform provider.


    • RightMedia – $680m – April
      Online ad exchange Right Media acts as a stock market for publishers, networks and advertisers to trade inventory. More than 20,000 buyers and sellers use the platform daily.
    • Blue Lithium – $300m – September

      This deal added around 1,000 sites to the web giant’s Publisher Network, while Yahoo! also got hold of BlueLithium’s behavioural targeting technology, which should enable its clients to serve more relevant ads.


    • Kefta – undisclosed – AprilAcxiom Digital broadened its online marketing offering through the acquisition of Kefta, a website personalisation company.


    • Touch Clarity – $51.5m – FebruaryTouch Clarity provides behavioural targeting tools – some UK banks have been using this technology.
    • Visual Sciences – $394m – OctoberFormerly known as WebSideStory, Visual Sciences provides real-time customer intelligence and enterprise web analytics solutions


    • Business Interactif – €137m (£92m) -JuneFrench marketing and advertising group Publicis will merge digital agency Business Interactif, which has offices in France, China and Japan, with its existing digital advertising operation, Digitas.


    • Spannerworks – £10m – February Less than three months after Spannerworks’ main UK search competitor Bigmouthmedia merged with Global Media, UK search marketing agency Spannerworks was acquired by the US digital agency.
    • Proxicom – undisclosed – JulyThe acquisition of the web development agency created the largest privately-held global digital marketing company.


    • Dare – £20m – July
      Cossette acquired the London based interactive marketing agency in a six-year, three-part deal, initially taking a 65.4% ownership stake in the firm.


    • UniqueDigital – undisclosed – March
      Unique specialises in search engine marketing, affiliate marketing and online advertising. Clients include Barclaycard, Avis Europe and Sainsbury’s.

    Digital Marketing Group:

    • Graphico & Hyperlaunch – £12.1m – July
      Graphico, a full service digital agency with expertise in mobile marketing was acquired for £8.6m, while the deal for digital creative marketing agency Hyperlaunch was worth £3.6m.

    Related stories:

    Microsoft restructures for online ad battle

    AOL creates one-stop-shop ad network

    Q&A: Omniture’s Neil Weston on the Google threat

    Related research:

    Online Advertising Networks 2007