AQuantive Denies ValueClick Merger Talks

NEW YORK Internet ad firm aQuantive said it is not pursuing merger negotiations with ad network ValueClick.

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reported that aQuantive and ValueClick came close to merging the two companies. Such a union would have greatly expanded aQuantive’s media business, which includes performance-based network DrivePM. ValueClick has one of the Web’s largest ad networks.

“I do not want our shareholders expending any energy as a result of this article, worrying about what might or might not happen,” CEO Brian McAndrews said during his first-quarter earnings conference call. “So let me confirm on aQuantive’s behalf that no discussions are underway nor being contemplated with ValueClick.”

Meanwhile, aQuantive reported a solid first quarter, with notable growth in its Avenue A/Razorfish agency business.

The Seattle company had revenue of $92.2 million, up 42 percent from 2005. Net income was $7.6 million, up from $6.4 million a year earlier.

Avenue A/Razorfish continued its strong performance, with revenue in the quarter of $55.2 million, a 41 percent year-over-year increase. The unit returned $7.7 million of operating revenue, up from $4.5 million in Q1 2005.

AQuantive also saw growth in its ad serving and performance media businesses. Its digital marketing technology unit saw revenue of $27.7 million, up 34 percent. The performance media unit, which includes DrivePM and MediaBrokers in the United Kingdom, expanded 75 percent to generate $9.3 million in revenue during the quarter.