July 13, 2009 / 3:15 AM / in 9 years

Microsoft pitches Razorfish sale to 5 big ad cos -WSJ

NEW YORK, July 12 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) is pitching to five of the world’s biggest advertising companies a deal to buy Razorfish, its digital ad agency, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing executives familiar with the situation.

Microsoft’s pitch also includes a proposal to use the software company’s advertising technologies and potentially buy hundreds of millions of dollars of ad space across its Web properties, the Journal reported on its website.

Omnicom Group (OMC.N), WPP (WPP.L), Publicis (PUBP.PA) are among the companies Microsoft has contacted, and which have expressed interest in Razorfish and are considering a more extensive commercial relationship with Microsoft, the paper reported, quoting unidentified sources.

Microsoft, which has hired investment bank Morgan Stanley (MS.N) to shop the agency, has also been in touch with Interpublic Group (IPG.N) and Dentsu (4324.T), according to the Journal.

A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment on the Journal report, saying the company does not comment on rumors. WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, Interpublic and Dentsu did not immediately return phone calls or e-mails seeking comment on the Journal report.

The deal would see one of the ad companies buying Razorfish and could also include agreements for the ad holding company to use Microsoft’s digital advertising services or buy ad space across its web properties, including Bing, its new search engine, the Journal reported.

    The talks are preliminary and a deal is not likely to happen for at least a couple of months, the Journal reported.

    The price could range from $400 million to hundreds of millions of dollars more, depending on the ad-buying commitments and technology included in the deal, sources told the Journal.

    Microsoft acquired Razorfish in 2007 as part of its $6 billion purchase of aQuantive. (Reporting by Anupreeta Das; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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