Microsoft today announced it will acquire aQuantive, the parent company of one of the industry’s most successful families of digital marketing in an all-cash transaction valued at $6bn (£3bn).
The huge sum paid by Microsoft - more than treble any of its previous acquisitions - shows its desperation to enter the online advertising market after it failed to acquire DoubleClick, Yahoo, or Real Media, all areas of interest.
Yesterday advertising group WPP said it will pay $637m (£322m) to purchase loss making web advertising broker 24/7 Real Media , and Google has also recently acquired DoubleClick for $3.1bn (£1.57bn).
Last week Microsoft was rumoured to be in takeover talks with Yahoo, but this latest deal will likely quell those rumours.
'The advertising industry is evolving and growing at an incredible pace, moving increasingly toward online and IP-served platforms, which dramatically increases the importance of software for this industry,' said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft.
'Today’s announcement represents the next step in the evolution of our ad network from our initial investment in MSN, to the full capacity of the internet.'
The aQuantive acquisition enables Microsoft to strengthen relationships with advertisers, agencies and publishers by improving its advertising platforms and services beyond its current capabilities to serve MSN.
The acquisition also provides Microsoft increased depth in building and supporting next generation advertising solutions and environments such as cross media planning, video-on-demand and IPTV.