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The market is once again digesting rumors that ValueClick (NSDQ: VCLK) is on the block. The latest batch started yesterday and are now being reported by a number of outlets, including the AP. Such talk is nothing new as the company’s name was widely bandied about during the spring, when Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) and Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) each made online advertising buys in short order. Not only was the company left out of that round, but the summer brought with it a host of challenges, including an FCC inquiry into the company’s business practices and a shareholder lawsuit stemming from the stock’s fall.
Merriman Curhan Ford & Co. analyst Richard Fetyko’s current rumored suitor is Time Warner’s AOL (NYSE: TWX), a view corroborated by Stanford Group analyst Clayton Moran, according to Tech Trader Daily. Neither analyst, however, finds the AOL rumor to be particularly persuasive, while Moran thinks that Yahoo, Microsoft or even News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) would make more sense.
ValueClick’s stock is up sharply this week, so clearly the market believes that something could be up, but given the speculative nature of these rumors and the ongoing legal clouds hovering over the company, it’s hard to put much stock in anything happening soon.