The WPP Group and Publicis are understood to have entered the second and final round of bidding for the search marketing arm of Google-owned DoubleClick Performics.
One of the two companies is expected to be chosen as the preferred bidder for Performics in the coming months, although the company may be removed from the market and a new sale procedure launched if the candidates do not meet the criteria. Google declined to comment on the bidding process.
A Performics spokesman also declined to comment, but says an announcement on new ownership would be made “in the next few months.”
The deal will give the preferred bidder extended operations in the UK, Germany, Asia and the US. “The intention is to sell the whole company,” the Performics spokesman says. “But it will be determined in the final agreement.”
Performics offers natural and paid search through its DART Search solution. This allows marketers to keep track of how much has been bid for a keyword and the effectiveness of any given keyword. Performics’ clients include music retailer Zavvi, Hewlett Packard, News Corporation, United Airlines and Ladbrokes.
Performics, formerly known as Dynamic Trade, launched a search marketing service in 2001 but was acquired for $58m (£29.7m) by DoubleClick in 2004. Doubleclick was then acquired by Google on March 11 this year.
In April, Google opted to split DoubleClick Performics into two separately run businesses units: affiliate marketing and search marketing. Google opted to keep the affiliate part of the business and sell the search part of DoubleClick Performics to avoid a conflict of interest.