After Google (NSDQ: GOOG) completed its acquisition of DoubleClick earlier this year, it announced plans to divest itself of Performics, the search marketing firm that came with the package. That Google wouldn’t want to be in the SEM game was pretty easy to comprehend. Today the company has announced that the unit will be sold to advertising firm Publicis for an undisclosed sum. The Paris-based ad holding company says it will combine the unit with its existing SEM practice and that it will strengthen its VivaKi Nerve Center. Performics has 200 employees around the globe who will report to Vivaki head Curt Hecht. The deal is expected to close this quarter. Release.
— David adds: When David Kenny, a Publicis managing partner and one of the heads of VivaKi, heralded the ad holding company’s new “open source ad network” in June, he indicated that company would have a more conciliatory approach to Google and other internet companies than rivals like WPP, whose CEO Sir Martin Sorrell has frequently voiced concerns about the search giant. Looking ahead, the sale of Performics to Publicis could build on the then year-old partnership the two revealed back in January. Both have remained fairly circumspect about the details of what they’ve been working on since then.