Microsoft-AQuantive Followup

A quick followup to my post on the MSFT-AQNT deal announced last week.  There has been a lot of consternation in the commentary about the deal price across the internet perhaps highlighted by this post over at GigaOm.  First I want to clarify my earlier post – I wasn’t saying MSFT was crazy for paying the EBITDA multiple that they did for AQNT.  I was just noting it’s high price tag (and since I am currently on the sell side of the equation given the size of startups I am involved with I am a big cheerleader for high multiples these days).  Whether it was a good strategic decision or not, only time will tell (and given my perception of MSFT’s track record in the space I am on the skeptical side of the fence).

Based on my own M&A experience which involves being directly involved with the decision to buy a dozen or so Internet-related companies, if the deal works out basically no matter what was paid, then it will look a bargain in the end.  And if the deal fails, then no matter what you paid, then it will have been too much. 

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