FT: Microsoft To Sell Razorfish

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Microsoft (MSFT.O) has hired Morgan Stanley (MS.N) to sell Razorfish, its digital agency, and French marketing company Publicis Groupe SA (PUBP.PA) is thought to be a possible bidder, the Financial Times said on its Website late Sunday.

Microsoft acquired the agency, formerly called Avenue A Razorfish, as part of its $6 billion takeover of aQuantive in 2007.

The report cited an analyst valuing Razorfish at $600 million to $700 million, based on sales of about $400 million last year and profit margins for similar businesses of 12 to 13 percent.

Publicis and Morgan Stanley were not immediately available for comment.

Microsoft declined comment.

Razorfish is one of the largest interactive advertising and marketing agencies, boasting a client list that includes McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N), Starwood Hotels & Resorts (HOT.N), and Carnival Cruise Lines.

Microsoft and VivaKi, the digital arm of Publicis, last week unveiled a broad cooperation deal to develop new content, improve marketing performance and better target digital advertising audiences.