Microsoft has sold Razorfish advertising agency for $530m to Publicis Groupe, the parent company of the Saatchi and Saatchi ad firm, following a bidding battle.The other bidders in the race included WPP, Dentsu, Omnicom and three others. Microsoft bought Razorfish in 2007 as part of its $6bn purchase of AQuantive. The agency designs digital ad campaigns and its clients include McDonald’s and Levi Strauss. Razorfish also works with Microsoft rivals Google and Yahoo!.
Razorfish will continue to operate under its own name, and will remain Microsoft’s “agency of record” for online advertising and marketing, the companies said in a joint statement. Paris-based Publicis is hoping the buy will help expand its digital-ad business as demand slows for traditional print and television campaigns.
“The purchase of Razorfish is a new step in our strategic plan to be the unquestionable leader in digital communication,” Publicis Chief Executive Officer Maurice Levy said in a statement. “Once this acquisition is complete, about a quarter of our revenue will come from digital communication and our ability to grow and conquer will be reinforced.”
In 2008, Razorfish had revenue of about $380m employs about 2,000 people, and gets 75% of its revenue from the US It also has offices in China, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, Australia and Britain. Chief executive Bob Lord will stay with the company, the statement said.
Last year, Publicis bought the Performics search-marketing business from Google, for an undisclosed amount. Publicis paid $1.3bn in 2007 for online agency Digitas.