Microsoft finally gets an online ad company

Microsoft may have lost out to Google on the purchase of DoubleClick, but the software giant has at last bought an online advertising company. And it had to look no further than nearby Seattle.

Microsoft announced this morning that it will acquire aQuantive [the parent of better-known names such as Avenue A | Razorfish, Atlas and DRIVEpm] for US$6 billion cash, or almost twice the market capitalization of US$2.8 billion. That will make only a small dent on Microsoft’s cash reserves of US$35 billion.

The purchase comes only a day after WPP agreed to acquire 24/7 Real Media. Last month saw Yahoo’s purchase of RightMedia and the GoogleClick deal.

More on the story from TechCrunch and Mathew Ingram.