Update on the Publicis Razorfish Deal

About two months ago, I posted an article about the Publicis – Razorfish deal. Not that I have some sort of crystal ball, but here is a short paragraph I posted:

At the end of the day I don’t believe this deal will dramatically change the advertising industry. The integration of Razorfish will lead to adjustments in the portfolio, as well as reduced headcounts. Publicis will gain additional interactive expertise, and maybe they are on their way to “digital leadership”. However, Razorfish is the loser of this deal: they loose independence and will be integrated in the advertising potpourri of a large network (under the umbrella of another company). They have to find their place first, before they can gain strength. What’s left? Just a normal company acquisition…

And here are some news on the deal: As Razorfish is finally absorbed into Publicis Groupe, the two top execs Chief Strategy Officer Jeff Lanctot and Managing Director Jim Watson won’t be coming along for the ride. Both have been with Razorfish on a 10-year stretch and both will be leaving for Microsoft, which acquired Razorfish as part of the aQuantive deal in 2007.

Despite the connections both might have to Razorfish after they leave (Mr. Lanctot will oversee the long-term advertising and services deal between Microsoft and Publicis Groupe), their departures come as Publicis closes on the Razorfish deal and begins the process of integrating the agency into the holding company.

The transition from Microsoft to Publicis seems not to be as smooth for some Razorfish employees, as they would have expected: Employees were informed recently that most of their Microsoft stock options won’t be replaced. Rumors of employees, including executives leaving, or planning to leave, have been in the market for a while. A replacement for Mr. Lanctot has not been named, however it seems that two internal candidates are under consideration.

So, what’s next Razorfish?

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