DoubleClick swallows Sabela

Competition in the local Web ad serving market appears set to sharply diminish with the purchase of the technology assets of Sabela Media by its US-owned competitor DoubleClick.

News of the sale yesterday came as a surprise - or perhaps a shock - to New Zealand Sabela customers, who include IDG Communications, NetGuide, Trade Me and Webmasters Ad Network.

In a brief email to customers, John Butterworth, the Asia-Pacific managing director of 24/7 Media Technology Solutions - more commonly known as Sabela - said he appreciated the deal "is an unexpected result given our recent efforts to buy the Sabela business."

Under the deal, DoubleClick buys the assets and Sabela retains ownership of existing ad serving contracts in Australia and New Zealand, which it 24/7 Media will "scale back the Sabela third party ad serving business immediately and to discontinue it in the near future," according to a subsequent email from Jitenda Valera, DoubleClick's vice president of international sales.

Both companies emphasised continuity of service, and DoubleClick has offered Sabela customers training and free use of its DART ad serving platform for the month of MayBut Sabela customers now have only 30 days to migrate from the Sabela platform to DART - a span most are likely to regard as far too tight.

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