Yesterday Microsoft and French advertising holding company Publicis Groupe announced that the latter was buying agency Razorfish. Razorfish came to Microsoft as part of the $6 billion aQuantive deal, the largest acquisition in Redmond’s history.
As part of the deal Publicis will give Microsoft 6.5 million shares, amounting to a roughly 3 percent stake in the holding company. The total value of the deal is estimated at $530 million. Just over half of that will be in cash. According to a statement by Publicis CEO Maurice Levy, “Once this acquisition is complete, about a quarter of our revenue will come from digital communication…”
In an earlier, parallel move, Publicis also bought Performics from Google almost exactly a year ago. Performics was part of the DoubleClick transaction.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
As part of the pact, Publicis has entered a “strategic alliance” with Microsoft, which includes a five-year media-buying relationship. In return for buying a certain amount of display and search advertising on Microsoft properties, Publicis will receive better ad rates.
Publicis also has similar sounding deal with Google, though there don’t appear to be any ad-buying quotas or favorable pricing as part of that relationship.
The Microsoft-Publicis deal includes paid search. One question is: how will this deal affect Yahoo’s role selling “premium search” on behalf of both Microsoft and itself? Publicis’ advertisers are all the kind that fall into the “premium” category.