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World Business Quick Take



Publicis to buy Razorfish

French advertising company Publicis Groupe SA has agreed to buy Microsoft Corp’s digital advertising firm Razorfish in a move to boost its share of advertising on the Web, a joint statement said on Sunday. The deal is valued at US$530 million, comprised of cash and 6.5 million Publicis Groupe treasury shares. The two companies also signed a five-year strategic alliance agreement that will allow Publicis to purchase display and search advertising from Seattle-based Microsoft on favorable terms across Microsoft’s digital properties in exchange for certain minimum guaranteed purchases. Under terms of that agreement, Razorfish will continue to be a preferred provider to Microsoft for digital strategy, creative and marketing services and Microsoft has committed to spend a minimum amount for those services each year. In addition to Microsoft, Razorfish’s major clients include Ford Motor Co, Best Buy Co, McDonald’s Corp and Starwood Hotels Resorts Worldwide Inc. Razorfish will continue to operate under its brand name and be part of VivaKi, the new Publicis Groupe entity created in June last year to reflect independent operations of Digitas, Starcom MediaVest Group, Denuo and ZenithOptimedia.


Aussie boycott threatened

Britain’s leading fashion retailers are threatening to boycott Australian wool after farmers said they would continue sheep mulesing, or cutting of the hide to prevent disease, a report said yesterday. Next and Marks & Spencer are among major chains to condemn the decision as “totally unacceptable,” and have pledged to seek wool from non-mulesed Australian farms, or from other countries, the Guardian newspaper said. Marks & Spencer has pledged to use non-mulesed merino wool for suits in its menswear range after next year. In a letter to Australian wool industry leaders, the retailer is said to have stressed the “2010 deadline is not negotiable and loss of confidence in M&S wool products could well lead to widespread customer boycotting and loss of revenue for the whole supply chain,” the newspaper said. The British Retail Consortium said it was “disappointed” at the announcement by the farmers last month, and at the end of next year its members “will seek to use suppliers who don’t use mulesing.”


BNP appoints China head

BNP Paribas SA said Margaret Ren (任克英) has been appointed chairwoman and chief executive officer of corporate finance for Greater China to expand the investment banking business of France’s biggest lender in the region. Ren’s appointment is effective yesterday, BNP Paribas said. She is a former managing director and chairman of China investment banking at Merrill Lynch & Co. Merrill was bought by Bank of America Corp this year.


Oil hovers at US$71 a barrel

Oil prices hovered near US$71 a barrel yesterday in Asia as investors looked to signs later this week of US consumers health. Benchmark crude for September delivery was up US$0.17 to US$71.10 a barrel by midday in Singapore in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, the contract fell US$1.01 to settle at US$70.93. Crude prices have fluttered near US$71 a barrel and US$72 for about a week as investors try to gauge how strong a US economic recovery will be this year.

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