WPP of London, the world’s second largest advertising firm, is said to be considering a takeover of web ads network 24/7 RealMedia as consolidation of the online advertising networks accelerates. “Real Media has been flirting with Britain’s WPP for several months, although price is proving to be a sticking point”, according to the New York Post, citing unidentified sources. (Take that with the proverbial grain of salt.) WPP would face competition, of course.
WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell is noticeably eager to counter the advertising might of Google – only last week, he told Reuters the search giant’s acquisition of the DoubleClick ad network “raises issues as to whether we are happy to let Google have our client’s data and our own data which Google could use for its own purposes in contextual and targeted advertising.” Analysts told the Post 24/7 Real Media could fetch $600 million, but while DoubleClick sold for $3.1 billion on annual revenues of $300 million, 24/7, too, operated a similar revenue of around $200 million. Similarly, Saatchi & Saatchi parent Publicis in December bought digital ad agency Digitas for $1.3 billion.