By Harry Keaney
It’s a billion dollar merger that’s sending a buzz through the Irish-American business community in New York.
On Monday, DoubleClick Inc., listed on the Nasdaq as DCLK, and Abacus Direct Corporation, with the Nasdaq ticker ABDR, announced that they had signed a merger agreement in a transaction valued at $1 billion.
Abacus boasts that it has the nation’s richest trove of data on consumer catalog-buying behavior for target marketing purposes. DoubleClick is a leading provider of global Internet advertising solutions for marketers and Web publishers.
The stock-for-stock transaction will create the worldwide leader in online advertising and database marketing, according to the companies.
The merger grabbed the attention of the Irish business community because Abacus’s founder, chairman and CEO is Monaghan native Tony White. He was honored last October by the Irish Business Organization of New York as its business person of the year. White has also been a guest speaker for the IBO.
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Meanwhile, DoubleClick, whose chairman and CEO is Kevin O’Connor, has international headquarters in Dublin.
White said the merger combines two high-growth, industry-leading companies to create a powerful and unique online advertising and marketing entity. He added that DoubleClick’s online ad serving technologies and media expertise, combined with Abacus’ database marketing and customer targeting expertise, will enable consumers to receive the most relevant and effective messages at the right time.
"This is a historic day for both DoubleClick and Abacus," O’Connor said. "By combining our two companies, we will offer clients comprehensive, full service marketing and advertising solutions. As traditional media fragments, and the online advertising market continues to grow, marketers are increasingly turning to DoubleClick for effective and cost efficient ways to promote their brands and sell products. Most importantly, this combination further enhances our ability to deliver the right advertising message, to the right consumer, at the right time."
Under the terms of the agreement, DoubleClick will issue 1.05 shares of DoubleClick common stock for each share of Abacus common stock.
Based on June 11,1999, closing prices, the exchange ratio represents a per share price of $93.25, a 25.1 percent premium to Abacus shareholders.
The transaction is subject to certain conditions, regulatory approval and approval by Abacus and DoubleClick stockholders.
The transaction is expected to be completed in late third quarter of 1999.
O’Connor will serve as chairman and CEO of the combined company. White will join DoubleClick’s board and oversee the expansion of Abacus’ product lines onto the Internet.
The combined company will be headquartered in New York, and Abacus will continue to be based in Colorado.
Goldman, Sachs & Co. acted as financial adviser to DoubleClick. BancBoston Robertson Stephens acted as financial adviser to Abacus.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the deal is an attempt to resolve the frustration of many companies advertising online. While there has been a lot of buzz around "one-to-one" marketing — the idea that advertisers could target those specific customers most interested in their ads — the premise has been largely unrealized, the Journal pointed out. Part of the reason for this is the fall in the rate at which people click on banner advertisements to find out more about a product or service.
Combining technology and media expertise, DoubleClick (www.doubleclick.net) centralizes planning, execution, control, tracking and reporting for online media campaigns.
DoubleClick went public on Feb. 20, 1998.
DoubleClick Inc. has U.S. headquarters in New York City, and maintains offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Mateo, Seattle, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Helsinki, London, Madrid, Milan, Montreal, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Stockholm, Sydney, Tokyo and Toronto.
Abacus Direct Corp.
Abacus Direct Corporation (http://www.abacus-direct.com.) manages the premier membership database, the Abacus Alliance, which is the nations’ largest proprietary database of consumer catalog-buying behavior used for target marketing purposes. The Abacus Alliance database currently contains records from 1,100 merchandise catalogs, with more than 2 billion consumer catalog transactions representing virtually all U.S. consumer catalog buying households.
Abacus applies its proprietary modeling techniques to the power of shared data to improve profitability, to improve targeting efficiency, and reduce unwanted mailings.
Founded in 1990, Abacus Direct Corp. is headquartered in Broomfield, Colo., and has offices in Teddington, England, New York City, Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago, and Hawthorne, N.Y.