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Razorfish bought by Publicis for $530m

FRENCH advertising group Publicis yesterday agreed to buy Razorfish advertising agency from technology giant Microsoft for $530m (&pound;317m) in cash and stock. <br /><br />Publicis beat off around eight interested companies for Microsoft&rsquo;s unit, including the UK&rsquo;s WPP plc and Japanese firm Dentsu.<br /><br />The Paris-based group&rsquo;s chief executive Maurice Levy said the price paid was the result of an auction, and added he had no plans for similar acquisitions.<br /><br />&ldquo;This deal represents a real win for all parties, and allows Razorfish to continue growing as a leading player in the digital marketing industry,&rdquo; a Microsoft spokesman said.<br /><br />Microsoft took on Razorfish as part of its $6bn acquisition&nbsp; of aQuantive in 2007.<br /><br />As part of the arranged deal, digital advertising world number one Publicis, which counts General Motors (GM) and Procter &amp; Gamble as its customers, will buy up advertising in Microsoft&rsquo;s digital arms, including its newly launched search engine Bing.<br /><br />This is part of a wider five-year agreement in which Publicis buys display and search advertising from Microsoft at attractive terms. This will be in return for minimum guaranteed purchases.<br /><br />Publicis also has a similar deal with Google, dating back to January 2008,&nbsp; but the two alliances will work side by side, the company said.<br /><br />The acquisition comes as Publicis and its rivals seeks to up the ante in terms of online expertise and marketing, and move more advertising onto the internet. <br /><br />Razorfish&rsquo;s clients include Best Buy, Ford, McDonald&rsquo;s, Microsoft and Starwood Hotels.<br /><br />Levy said that Razorfish has around 2,000 employees and a revenue of $370m to $380m this year.