just in Google says it has agreed to buy online advertising company DoubleClick for $3.1 billion in cash. The acquisition will give Google the ability to sell online ads that appear on Web sites other than those in its network. The deal will mean that Web site publishers will get access to new advertisers, and agencies and advertisers will be able to manage search and display ads in one centralized spot, Google says.
Google is buying DoubleClick from San Francisco-based private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, which acquired DoubleClick in July 2005, and JMI Equity and Management.
"It has been our vision to make Internet advertising better--less intrusive, more effective and more useful," Sergey Brin, Google co-founder and president of technology, said in a statement. "Together with DoubleClick, Google will make the Internet more efficient for end users, advertisers and publishers."
Microsoft had been in discussions to buy DoubleClick, according to reports in The Wall Street Journal. In addition to Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL were reportedly in talks with the company.The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
More to follow as this story develops.