24/7 Real Media Buys Search Tech Firm

  |  August 19, 2004   |  Comments

Acquisition of the Aussie company expands the company's international presence.

Interactive marketing and technology company 24/7 Real Media dove down under to pick up an advantage in paid search campaign management. The company Thursday announced its purchase of privately held Decide Interactive for $26 million in cash and stock.

24/7 Real Media will shell out $15 million in cash and 4.5 million shares of stock, valued at $11.25 million at Thursday's closing price. If Decide Interactive performs up to certain benchmarks, the company's shareholders could get up to $7.5 million more later.

The U.S.-based company gets several things with the acquisition: paid search bid management tools, paid inclusion technology, and a stronger presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Previously, 24/7 Real Media's only footprint in the area was Real Media Korea, which it acquired early this year.

"There's no question that there's a real need for companies like ours to work with advertisers to help them get the best bang for their buck," said Dave Moore, chairman and chief executive officer of 24/7 Real Media. Moore cited a recent report by Jupiter Research that shows few search marketers are tracking the return on investment from their ad dollars.

Paid search campaign management has become one of the hottest spaces in the advertising technology sector. AQuantive acquired GoToast late last year, integrating it into its Atlas Suite and changing the division's name to Atlas OnePoint. DoubleClick made its play by buying Performics in May.

The technology 24/7 acquired, called Decide DNA, allows marketers to manage thousands of keyword campaigns across search engines like Yahoo, Overture, Google, FindWhat and Espotting. Decide also works with Overture's paid inclusion customers to help them generate and optimize XML feeds. Clients using the technology include Walmart.com, Citysearch Australia, Hotwire and Carat Interactive.

24/7 Real Media already had its own search practice, which focused primarily on paid inclusion. It also offers search analytics and had been planning to build a bid management tool on its own.

"We actually have an analytical technology that we were going to marry with a bid management product," said Moore, "but once we saw what Decide had, we made the decision it was better to buy than to build."

The acquisition also gives 24/7 a bigger presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Decide Interactive will begin offering other 24/7 Real Media technology and services to clients in Australia, while 24/7's U.S. and European offices will add Decide capabilities to their sales pitches.

"Having designed Decide DNA from day one to handle advanced character language sets, such as Korean and Japanese, we are very excited to make a strong push into these markets through 24/7 Real Media's local operating subsidiary 24/7 Real Media Korea," said Keith Lambert, chief executive officer of Decide Interactive, in a statement.

Lambert will become 24/7 Real Media's new president of Australian operations and senior vice president of global search solutions.

The companies say Decide Interactive has generated positive net income over the past seven months. 24/7 Real Media expects the acquisition to bring in $3 million in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2004 and be accretive to pro forma operating income per share throughout 2005.

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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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