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Tickers in this Article: AQNT, MSFT, YHOO, GOOG, TFSM
Website builder and online-ad broker aQuantive's (Nasdaq: AQNT) shares have been on quite a run recently, and much of this run has been attributed to Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) purchase of DoubleClick.

DoubleClick and aQuantive have overlapping business models, and there's an assumption that Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) or Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) might buy the company to match Google's move. But, aQuantive shares might stay high even if there is no suitor.

Takeover Target
Michele Gershberg of Reuters wrote recently: "Companies that rival aQuantive in some services have become acquisition targets in recent weeks, including DoubleClick, which agreed to be purchased by Web search leader Google Inc." (To read the entire article, see AQuantive profit rises 87 pct, shares surge.)

DoubleClick controls a large system that places marketers' advertisements onto the websites where they are seen. The crossroads of big advertisers and big websites is seen as strategic in the internet business.

Controlling the gate between the two sides of the online ad business means having access to the behavior of tens of millions of online customers. Several companies, including Microsoft, have objected to the Google/DoubleClick deal for this reason.

However, it has also fueled expectations that related companies like aQuantive and 24/7 RealMedia (Nasdaq: TFSM) could be bought out.

Core Business is Fine
AQuantive does not appear to need a M&A event to keep its momentum. Profit nearly doubled last quarter to $14.2 million. Revenue rose about 55% to $142.6 million, some of this due to acquisitions that the company made. The only thing in the numbers that may be worth noting is that net margin is only about 9%, which is not huge for an internet firm. (To learn more, see The Bottom Line On Margins.)

The company guided for Q2 net to be between $13 million and $14.5 million. Part of the company's success has been in designing and building websites for other enterprises. This business, along with the company's advertising serving business, must continue to move up sharply.


What Next?

Because so much of aQuantive's business is in building websites, it is not a pure play in the ad-middleman business. However, there is something to be said for a public company that is growing by over 50% year-over-year.

Most of the stock's gains over the last 52 weeks have come after Google's announced purchase of DoubleClick, but aQuantive has enough gas in the tank to drive its stock further on its own.

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