AOL Makes Bid for Web Advertising Firm TradeDoubler

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AOL, a unit of Time Warner Inc., said Monday it is making a $900 million cash bid to buy Swedish online marketing specialist TradeDoubler in an effort to improve its Internet advertising in Europe.

The bid offers $30.60 per share for TradeDoubler, and the company?s board has unanimously recommended its shareholders accept the offer, AOL said.

However, Swedish pension fund Alecta — which increased its stock holdings in TradeDoubler to more than 10 percent Monday – rejected the bid, saying it was too low.

TradeDoubler shares soared nearly 15 percent to $33.38 on the Stockholm exchange.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said the acquisition would help AOL become a bigger player on the European online advertising market.

“With AOL and Advertising.com, we have built a robust online advertising business in Europe, and TradeDoubler will help us accelerate the growth of this business,” the chief executive officer said.

AOL said the acceptance period for the offer is expected to run from Jan. 22-Feb. 19, with about 20 percent of TradeDoubler?s shareholders already having accepted the bid.

Stockholm-based TradeDoubler was founded in 1999 and now has 334 workers with operations in 18 European countries. It had sales of $151 million in 2005.

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