WPP Group Expected To Prevail In Latest Interactive Acquisition For Blast Radius: Report

Although interactive ad shop Blast Radius does about three-quarters of its business in the U.S., the independent agency is not very well known outside its native Canada. That could change by next week, as Ad Age reports that WPP Group, which has been on an acquisition tear lately, is about to purchase the Vancouver-based company. No word on how much the 400-person shop is expected to net for the buyout. Less than five weeks ago, WPP bought LA-based digital creative shop Schematic for an undisclosed sum, which was preceded by its purchases this summer of Refinery and 24/7 Real Media.

Earlier last month, Adweek reported that Publicis agency Saatchi & Saatchi’s offer to buy Blast Radius had been rejected, clearing the way for WPP. Founded 10 years ago, Blast Radius’s client roster includes AOL (NYSE: TWX), Electronic Arts (NSDQ: ERTS) and Nike. It earned about $60 million in revenue this year and has outposts in San Francisco, New York, Toronto, Amsterdam and London.

While the growing client list has raised the company’s profile, it has also put it under greater pressure to keep pace with those clients’ expanding needs. With a relative paucity of digital talent available to meet the increased demands of clients at traditional agencies, a large shop like Blast Radius is considered a prize. The pool of available digital ad agencies with significant staffing levels, services and top name clients has been shrinking practically every month over the past year, as WPP and its ad industry rivals, along with PE firms and non-agency tech companies like Google (NSDQ: GOOG), AOL, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) and Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), have all been on shopping sprees for shops like Blast Radius.