updated 4/2/2007 9:14:32 PM ET 2007-04-03T01:14:32

Microsoft Corp. may have competition from Google Inc. if it seeks to acquire Web advertising company DoubleClick Inc., The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Last week, the Journal reported that DoubleClick was exploring a sale with the help of investment bank Morgan Stanley and was in active talks with several companies. Microsoft was reported to be interested in buying the online advertising company for up to $2 billion.

(MSNBC.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal News.)

The newspaper, citing unnamed people familiar with the situation, said Monday that Google has emerged as a contender, and Yahoo Inc. and Time Warner Inc.’s AOL division also have talked to DoubleClick, which is owned by San Francisco private-equity group Hellman & Friedman. Negotiations were fluid, and a winner could be declared within days, the report said.

A Google spokesman said the company does not comment on “market rumor or speculation.” Microsoft declined to comment on its potential interest in DoubleClick, as did Hellman & Friedman.

Yahoo is always talking to a number of companies, but it doesn’t discuss those talks, spokeswoman Helena Maus said.

A representative from DoubleClick did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

New York-based DoubleClick has about 2,000 clients, spanning advertising agencies, Web publishers and advertisers. The company helps its customers place and track online advertising, including search ads, which Google — more than its nearest search competitors Yahoo and Microsoft — has turned into an extremely lucrative business.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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