DoubleClick Posts Loss After Imminent Sale Reported

  |  April 21, 2005   |  Comments

UPDATE: A San Francisco-based buyout firm is the likely buyer, according to a New York Post report.

Marketing technology firm DoubleClick could soon be owned by buyout firm Hellman & Friedman, according to a New York Post report that values the deal at around $1.2 billion.

The news comes the day the company reported a first quarter loss of $917,000, or $0.01 a share. Revenues came in at $76.3 million. DoubleClick partially blamed the poor results on expenses it incurred to conduct the search for a buyer, as well as fees it paid staffers to stay on despite the uncertainty.

DoubleClick has been trying to sell itself -- in whole or in part -- since November of last year, when it hired investment banker Lazard Freres & Company to explore "strategic options."

Citing sources close to the discussions, the Post said the San Francisco-based firm had emerged as the top contender. Another group, consisting of General Atlantic Partners and Cerberus Capital Management, was also said to be in the bidding. According to the story, a deal is expected to be announced later this week. Hellman & Friedman has investments in Young & Rubicam, Digitas and Upromise.

Representatives of both DoubleClick and Hellman & Friedman declined to comment on the possible imminent sale.

"Our review of strategic options is ongoing," said DoubleClick CEO Kevin Ryan on its conference call to report results to investors. "Therefore, we will not be commenting on that process for any press reports at this time."

DoubleClick's TechSolutions business brought in $51.5 million, versus $45.3 million in the year-ago period. Ad Management revenues came in lower this quarter, dropping from $33.3 million in the same 2004 period to $31.7 million. The company blamed the drop on pricing declines, but said rich media revenues from DART Motif were stronger.

Despite the decline, the company has high hopes for its Ad Management division in light of its win of America Online as a client. DoubleClick expects AOL to become its largest client and make up 5 percent of the company's revenues in 2006. Rich media is also a big focus.

"The fastest growing [area]...for us is probably rich media," said Ryan. "We've added a lot of salespeople."

Performics, which encompasses search engine and affiliate marketing, increased its revenues by 50 percent over the year-ago quarter, growing to $6.3 million.

Marketing Automation, meanwhile, had revenue of $13.5 million, up from $12 million in Q1 2004. That growth was partly due to the acquisition of SmartPath and growth in email.

DoubleClick's Data division posted revenue of $24.8 million in the first quarter, compared to $22.8 million in 1Q 2004.

For the second quarter, DoubleClick said it expected revenues to come in between $71 and $77 million, which would result in something between a $0.02 per share loss and a $0.02 per share profit.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pamela Parker

Pamela Parker is a former managing editor of ClickZ News, Features, and Experts. She's been covering interactive advertising and marketing since the boom days of 1999, chronicling the dot-com crash and the subsequent rise of the medium. Before working at ClickZ, Parker was associate editor at @NY, a pioneering Web site and e-mail newsletter covering New York new media start-ups. Parker received a master's degree in journalism, with a concentration in new media, from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

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