As we told you many a Friday Tech Link ago, Microsoft is looking to unload the Internet ad agency Razorfish.
The software giant is said to be courting five major ad firms with the help of banker Morgan Stanley.
To refresh your memory, Microsoft acquired the agency, which has offices in Center City, in 2007 when it purchased Razorfish’s then-parent company, aQuantive. Since, many suspected that Microsoft would eventually sell the Razorfish brand.
But, according to the Wall Street Journal and other sources, the lack of credit in the market and a potential conflict of interest for buyers are putting the prospects of a sale in serious doubt.
To help sweeten the deal, Microsoft is offering advertising inventory across its Internet properties such as Bing, XBox Live and MSN.com as well as the use of the company’s “ad technologies.” Which, we can only presume, means the Bill Gates’ secret chamber of hamsters running on wheels that power the interwebz.
Some estimates even have Razorfish selling for as low as $400 million, roughly equal to its 2008 revenue.
However, it may take more than the above incentives to persuade prospective buyers. By agreeing to use Microsoft’s ad technologies, the company is forcing buyers, who are advertising agencies that often buy advertising against Google and Microsoft search results, to get into bed with Microsoft.
To top it all off, Microsoft may not even be not fully committed to selling the company in the first place. Because of Microsoft’s reluctance, the lack of a credit market and the potential of alienating Google, the chance of a deal happening in the next few months is “less than 25 percent.”
Razorfish, formally known as Avenue A | Razorfish, counts Center City among one of its sixteen worldwide offices and is responsible for the current Philly.com design, among other projects.
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