Clark Kokich, the CEO of Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) online ad agency Razorfish, is downplaying rumors that its parent Microsoft is shopping it around. He tells Techflash pointedly that Microsoft has no plans to sell the company, which became part of the Redmond company when it paid $6 billion for Razorfish parent aQuantive in May 2007. However, he did leave the door open to sale in the not-too-distant future. Just because there are no plans at the moment, doesn’t mean that in “two to three to four years from now, it might not happen,” Kokich said.
– No WPP swap: Kokich also disputed reports that began swirling in August that Microsoft was in talks with WPP Group about a possible swap. AdAge reported that after a few months of exploratory talks, the UK ad company was interested in trading ad-serving platform provider Open AdStream. The stories suggested that Microsoft and WPP could solve similar problems with unwanted subsidiaries. In Microsoft’s case, the company was reportedly uninterested in the Razorfish part of aQuantive’s primary ad-serving business. Likewise, WPP felt its agency focus was a bad fit for Open AdStream, which was part of its $649 million purchase of 24/7/Real Media, also in May 2007. In his talk with Techflash, Kokich insists that WPP is just a “customer, a buyer of Microsoft ad products.”
– More layoffs?: The Razorfish CEO was also circumspect when asked whether there would be any further job cuts on top of last week’s dismissal of 40 staffers. Although there is “no restructuring” taking place at the moment, Kokich indicates that clients are expressing more caution lately, implying the obvious: if clients pull back more, additional job losses would be inevitable.