For example, in DoubleClick's latest quarterly report, the company was able to meet expectations with profits of $15.4 million in the third quarter. This compares to a profit of $6.3 million in the same period a year ago. Unfortunately, it also announced lower guidance for the fourth quarter. Yet again, the stock fell on the news.
Yesterday, DoubleClick pressed the panic button and announced it has hired the investment bank of Lazard Freres & Co. to explore the proverbial "strategic options." Investors certainly liked the move, as the stock price surged 12% to $7.12.
A critical part of the strategy for DoubleClick has been acquisitions. While this has worked for Yahoo!, it has been much more troublesome for DoubleClick. DoubleClick made bets on the wrong sectors, such as direct marketing database providers and advertising management solutions.
Paid search? Well, the company struck out here, too. And, this means DoubleClick is not likely to get much of a premium in an acquisition. Instead, the company is likely to be dismembered -- sold piece by piece to the right types of buyers. Or, it may decide to buy back large amounts of stock or distribute a one-time dividend.
No doubt, the online advertising space is undergoing significant consolidation, as seen with the rumored takeover of MarketWatch
Fool contributor Tom Taulli own shares of MarketWatch, but none of the other companies mentioned in this article.