Acquisitive aQuantive Doubles Profits

After a year heavy in acquisitions, aQuantive reported Q4 net income of $20.4 million, nearly twice that of the year-ago period. Revenue was up 53 percent to $133.4 million.

The company — one of a shrinking number of independent, publicly traded digital marketing behemoths — saw substantial increases across its digital marketing technology (DMT), services (DMS) and ad network business divisions.

The DMT segment, which includes Atlas and the recently acquired Accipiter publisher-side ad management platform, recorded revenue of $35.2 million in Q4, a 27 percent increase. The DMS segment, which includes Avenue A/Razorfish, recorded $80.6 million, up 33 percent. The DRIVE performance media business, consisting of ad network sales, climbed 55 percent to $17.7 million.

Full-year revenue for the company was $442.2 million, up 43 percent over 2005; and 2006 net income was $54 million, up 53 percent. Chief Financial Officer Wayne Wisehart offered 2007 guidance of $550 to $570 million in revenue.

aQuantive faces growing pressure from big agency holding companies, which have become more aggressive in their overtures to digital marketing firms. The company’s biggest U.S. rival, Digitas, was acquired this quarter by Publicis, but aQuantive maintains there’s a place in the market for a standalone interactive specialist.

“I think there’s room for at least one global independent interactive agency, and we’re absolutely convinced we can compete as an independent,” Clark Kokich, Avenue A/Razorfish’s worldwide president, told ClickZ recently.

To do so, the company has stepped up its M&A activity over the past year, especially in Europe and Asia. In July it bought Australian digital agency Amnesia; in August it snapped up German agency Neue Digitale; and in October it acquired e-Crusade, adding two offices and 43 employees in China. Last month saw the opening of its first outpost in Japan with an investment in Dentsu subsidiary Digital Pallette.

Additionally, its purchase of Accipiter in December for $30 million gave it a site-side ad management product and brought the company into more direct competition with DoubleClick.

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