Microsoft (MSFT) is finally getting rid of its Razorfish ad agency, and is getting a big buyer of Bing search advertising.
Publicis will pay $500-600 million for it in a deal to be announced today, the Wall Street Journal reports. For the last week or so, Publicis had been rumoured as the leading bidder, despite public posturing by its executives that they weren’t exactly in a hurry to own the agency.
As part of the deal, Publicis “will purchase hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising over several years across Microsoft’s digital properties, including its newly launched search engine, Bing,” the WSJ’s sources said.
Publicis bought digital agency Digitas in 2007 for $1.6 billion. Microsoft paid some $6 billion for Razorfish parent aQuantive in 2007, but much of that deal was for the technology side of the company — like its Atlas ad server — versus the agency, which never made any sense for Microsoft to own. The company started looking for bidders last year, according to reports at the time.
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