TW unit drops bid for online buy

AOL on Thursday pulled its $900 million cash offer to buy Swedish online marketing company TradeDoubler.

The Time Warner subsid had offered to buy Trade Doubler in January. It gave up after failing to acquire enough shares.

While TradeDoubler’s board of directors had recommended shareholders accept the bid, AOL said it had acquired only “a limited number of shares” by Wednesday’s deadline, falling short of the 90% required to determine ownership.

TradeDoubler’s largest shareholder with just over 10% of the company, fund manager Alecta, was among those that rejected the offer as too low.

TradeDoubler’s board said the company still had a “very exciting and attractive future ahead as an independent company.”

“We are perfectly placed to take advantage of the opportunities this rapidly growing industry will give us over the coming years,” the board said in a statement.

AOL has said TradeDoubler would help it improve its Internet advertising presence in Europe and become a bigger player on the continent.

The Stockholm-based online marketing company has operations in 18 European countries. It posted revenue of about $73 million last quarter.

Separately, Time Warner settled with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers) for $118 million to resolve a 2003 securities lawsuit against TW and AOL.

The suit accused the companies of accounting irregularities and also named as defendants execs, advisers and accountants at the time TW and AOL merged in 2001.

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