It’s been almost a year since Google announced that they wanted to acquire DoubleClick for $3.1 billion. That happened about mid-April last year, and the deal finally and officially closed on March 11th of this year. Now that the acquisition is complete and Google got all of the necessary approvals, they’re starting to get to work. Apparently the first task on the to-do list is to down-size DoubleClick because the New York Times is reporting that Google is going to layoff about 300 employees at the company.
When they were acquired, their total work force was about 1,200 people, so the layoff involves about 1/4 of their employees. While this is unfortunate for those employees, it’s not an unusual move for a company to make. In a statement, Google says “Since our acquisition of DoubleClick closed on March 11, we have been working to match and align DoubleClick employees in the U.S. with our organizational plan for the business. As with many mergers, this review has resulted in a reduction in headcount at the acquired company.”
Also on the to-do list is to sell a unit of DoubleClick called Performics Search Marketing. They provide search engine marketing services, affiliate programs, and technology for online marketing. Because Performics is all about search engine marketing services including search engine optimization, this would clearly have been a conflict of interest. Matt Cutts commented about this on his personal blog (he works for Google) and said:
I have nothing but respect for the people that do search marketing for Performics, but I think this is the best decision. People hold Google to a unbelievably high standard, and I think it’s important that we try very hard to avoid any conflict of interest — or even the appearance of conflict of interest — in our business. Many people I respect have wanted Google to take this step and I think it’s the right call.
Google would have received all kinds of slack if they retained the ownership of Performics, and they would have lost some of their credibility, so this was a very smart move on their part.