April 2, 2007 / 4:56 AM / 13 years ago

Google interested in DoubleClick purchase: report

A screenshot of DoubleClick.com, taken on April 2, 2007. Google Inc. has emerged along with Microsoft Corp. as a contender to buy DoubleClick Inc., presenting competition that stands to increase the final sale price of the online-advertising company, people familiar with the situation said in The Wall Street Journal. REUTERS/www.doubleclick.com

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Google Inc. (GOOG.O) has emerged along with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O) as a contender to buy DoubleClick Inc., presenting competition that stands to increase the final sale price of the online-advertising company, people familiar with the situation said in The Wall Street Journal.

Microsoft has appeared less likely to win the bidding as the potential price for the company surpassed $2 billion, people familiar with the situation said in the Journal.

Yahoo Inc. YHOO.O and Time Warner Inc.’s TWX.N AOL online unit also have talked to DoubleClick — which is majority-owned by San Francisco private-equity firm Hellman & Friedman — though it is unclear whether AOL is still in the race, these people said in the Journal.

DoubleClick is using investment bank Morgan Stanley to help explore its options, including a possible stock market listing, the Journal reported last week. Hellman & Freidman has reportedly set a price tag of at least $2 billion for the advertising company.

Such a price tag could amount to a hefty return for the private equity firm, which took DoubleClick private in mid-2005 in a deal worth $1.1 billion.

Representatives from Google were not immediately available for comment.

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