Google Is Said Not to Plan Akamai Technologies Acquisition

Akamai Technology Inc.
Akamai Technology Inc.'s Network Operations Command Center (NOCC) at their headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusettes. Source: Akamai Technology Inc. via Bloomberg

Google Inc. isn’t planning to acquire Akamai Technologies Inc., two people familiar with the matter said, countering a report in Business Insider that fueled speculation a takeover may be imminent.

The story, which sparked an after-hours surge of as much as 17 percent in Akamai stock yesterday, is baseless, said the people, who asked not to be identified. Several people in the advertising technology industry “think Google is about to buy Akamai,” Business Insider reported earlier yesterday.

“It’s mostly just a rumor,” according to the report.

Akamai, which speeds delivery of online content for such customers as Apple Inc. and Netflix Inc., was the subject of more buyout rumors than any other American company from 2005 through 2010, data compiled by Bloomberg show. It was named as a target 21 times by electronic news services, brokerages or newspapers, according to the data.

Weakness in Akamai shares -- it has slumped 50 percent this year -- means the company may be more alluring to acquirers. The company could attract interest from International Business Machines Corp., which is hunting for takeovers, or Verizon Communications Inc., co-owner of the largest U.S. wireless operator, analysts at Blaylock Robert Van LLC and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Inc. said earlier this month.

Representatives of Mountain View, California-based Google and Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Akamai declined to comment.

Akamai shares rose as high as $27.35 after the report yesterday, before paring the gains. The stock rose 4.8 percent to close at $24.49 in U.S. trading today.

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