DoubleClick Dealt, Renewed Dollar Doubts

Google wins EU approval to buy ad firm DoubleClick, and buys it immediately. The dollar sinks as investors doubt the effectiveness of yesterday


Google closes on DoubleClick purchase

Google completed its $3.1 billion acquisition of Internet ad firm DoubleClick, after the European Union cleared the deal with no restrictions. The closure of the deal, announced a year ago, joins Google’s text-ad juggernaut with DoubleClick’s banner-ad business. It also puts pressure on Microsoft to win Yahoo!, analysts said. ( Google’s stock closed 6 percent higher on the news, making up some lost ground after hitting a 17-month low on Monday. “Google has kind of languished strategically over the past year,” said Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Jeffrey Lindsay. “The strategy for 2007 was really put on ice for quite some time.” (Reuters)

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Dollar resumes slide despite Fed’s liquidity move

The U.S. dollar fell against most major currencies as investors bet that yesterday’s move by the Federal Reserve to inject $200 billion into the economy will fall short its goal of unlocking the frozen credit markets. The dollar sank back toward its record low against the euro, set yesterday. (Bloomberg) “It’s a bit of a reality check,” said Credit Suisse strategist Martin McMahon. “The Fed’s action obviously is welcome but it doesn’t really fix the economy.” (Reuters) The Fed offered to exchange U.S. Treasuries for mortgage-backed securities of indeterminate value held by banks, sending the U.S. markets soaring and giving the sliding greenback a brief reprieve. (Los Angeles Times, free registration)

Standard Life gets a boost

Scotland’s top insurer, Standard Life, reported a 43 percent jump in annual pretax operating profit, to $1.77 billion, beating expectations. Some $650 million in charges related to Britons cashing in their policies early and living longer was partly offset by $384 million in gains from a review of its UK annuity business. (Reuters) Standard also gained from cutting its workforce and pushing low-cost pension plans. Its shares rose by as much as 14 percent in early trading in London. “We have to give them some credibility and some sort of pat on the back for the results they’ve shown today,” said Stephen Pope at Cantor Fitzgerald Europe. (Bloomberg)

Paying for a free education

Tuition at Britain’s public schools is free, but parents are spending up to $5,580 to get their children into the best ones. About 10 percent of Britain’s public high schools are labeled “inadequate” by government inspectors, and students have two weeks to appeal their placement. About 35 percent of appeals are successful. This has created a market for former teachers and school officials who promise to help students get into the school of their choosing. “Parents are very emotional about it and worried,” said independent placement adviser John Chard, who says his appeals success rate is around 80 percent. London’s private day schools cost $21,000 a year. (Bloomberg)

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