DoubleClick Plans Falk Buy to Bolster European Presence

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DoubleClick Inc. is sticking close to its new knitting with plans confirmed yesterday to buy Falk eSolutions AG, a German supplier of online advertising delivery and marketing management services.


Acquiring Falk will yield clients like adpepper, TNT, Initiative, TV Guide, Ilse, Sony Pictures Digital, Helvetic Airways, Mediaedge:cia Netherlands and NBC Universal Television Networks as well as rich media technology like Commflash for producing video-quality ads.


"The deal dovetails with this new strategy and focus on online advertising infrastructure," said David Rosenblatt, CEO of DoubleClick, New York.


Terms were not disclosed.


The purchase comes a month after DoubleClick sold its e-mail business to Alliance Data Systems Corp. for $90 million and seven months after its $1.1 billion sale to private equity group Hellman & Friedman.


DoubleClick's attention now is devoted to its DART advertising platform and more specialized applications for rich media, search and performance-based advertising.


"Viewed in that context, Falk provides two things: one, much deeper geographic coverage in Europe where we're doubling our employee count and, as a result, [can] provide localized, customized service primarily where the bulk of Falk's business is," Rosenblatt said. "The second attribute is the inclusion of Falk's development team."


DoubleClick will have more than 200 employees in Europe once the deal goes through, expected by month's end. Falk has offices in Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Dublin, Paris, London, St. Petersburg and Amsterdam.


"The goal is to be the premier provider of online advertising infrastructure, and that includes both the DART platform product, which manages workflow and reporting across all forms of digital marketing, as well as specialized applications to support our clients' growth in rich media, search and performance-based advertising," Rosenblatt said.


Thomas Falk, CEO of Falk, will become president of DoubleClick's Europe Middle East and Africa operations. He will report to DoubleClick International president Ben Regensburger. Joe Apprendi, CEO of Falk North America, will help Falk customers shift to DoubleClick.


Falk will lose its name in the deal. Even its ad management technology for publishers, advertisers and agencies will be integrated with DoubleClick's systems.


"We will keep parts of it, but fundamentally we'll be absorbing their technology into DART," Rosenblatt said. "We're absorbing the parts that are different from us. Our product will be improved as a result of this acquisition. But, in addition, this will dramatically improve our services capability in Europe and our product development capacity."


Is DoubleClick in the market for companies offering services similar to Falk?


"Our strategy is not to buy versus build," Rosenblatt said. "Our strategy is to be successful in our core market, and if an acquisition is a more efficient way of achieving that goal, then we'll do it."


Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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