BubbleWatch Alert: #003

Private equity investors have paid a little over $1 billion for (two-thirds of) NexTag, another warmed-over relic from the last boom, founded in 1999 and then reinvented after its original model failed spectacularly.

According to that GigaOm article above, NexTag have "revenues of $200m" (per month? per quarter? per year?). Nielsen//NetRatings, who publish monthly reports on advertisers, say they are spending $60m a month on advertising. They themselves claim to have been profitable every month since October, 2001 -- a pretty unlikely month to have a turnaround, given that the rest of the market was melted at that point, and in 2003 they were boasting about 450% growth that year.

So say Om's figure is quarterly (and I have no idea if it is, but that's the period for which these figures make the most sense). Then they're spending maybe $180m every quarter to make profits of, again very roughly, $20m. So at an unusably poor level of certainty, that's $80m in profits a year, which given their $1.5 billion pricetag gives them a valuation of something like 19x earnings -- compared to 14x earnings for aQuantive about two months ago and 10x earnings for DoubleClick a little over a month before that.

That's some bubble we've got going there. If there's an acquisition for something like 24x earnings in early September I am going to proclaim myself a guru and start GigaSeldo.

P.S. It's developer day tomorrow! Woo!