Is FastClick on the M&A Block?

FastClick may go the way of, says a source close to the situation. The Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Internet ad technologies and services company has filed to go public, in a $166 million offering, according to its regulatory filing. That’s more than double the $75 million that the company raised in November in a Series A from Highland Capital Partners, Oak Investment Partners and Steamboat Ventures.

However, it looks as likely now that FastClick will not launch an IPO, but instead get bought, much in the same way that walked away from an expected $100 million IPO last year to get bought for $435 million in cash from American Online.

“Now that FastClick’s revenues have been made available [through public filings] I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see it acquired very soon,” says the source.

FastClick reported a profit of $5.1 million last year on revenue of $58 million, compared to $5.1 million in profit on $28.7 million in revenue in 2003.

Tor Braham, co-head of technology investing at Deutsche Bank Securities, which is not among FastClick’s underwriters, says that he hasn’t heard that FastClick is about to be acquired. “But the companies that are IPO candidates right now are, for the most part, running formal or informal dual track deals,” Braham says.

Braham says that despite what VCs tell reporters, “they would always rather sell than take a company public these days. Sarbanes-Oxley creates headaches and auditing firms are backed up.”