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Microsoft scoops up aQuantive for $6 billion

In its largest acquisition ever, Microsoft is acquiring Seattle-based online ad company aQuantive for $6 billion — an 85 percent premium over yesterday’s closing price. “Today’s announcement represents the next step in the evolution of our ad network from our initial investment in MSN, to the broader Microsoft network including Xbox Live, Windows Live and Office Live, and now to the full capacity of the Internet,” Microsoft’s chief executive, Steven A. Ballmer, said in a statement. Microsoft had lost out in the bidding on a number of online ad companies over the last several months, most notably Google’s $3.1 billion purchase of Doubleclick. And judging by the huge premium, Microsoft wasn’t about to lose out to someone else on the aQuantive deal. aQuantive is made up of Avenue A/Razorfish, Atlas and DRIVEpm.

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