May 17, 2007 8:20 AM PDT

Ad giant to scoop up 24/7 Real Media

WPP Group plans to buy 24/7 Real Media in a $649 million cash deal, bringing the latter's digital marketing technologies to the advertising giant.

WPP's announcement on Thursday comes just one month after Google said it will acquire online ad company DoubleClick in a $3.1 billion deal. Google's deal led to speculation that there would be an acquisition boom in the advertising technology market. Earlier this month, there were rumors that Microsoft would buy 24/7.

The deal will tie WPP's traditional mix of marketing, advertising, public relations and branding with 24/7's search-based ad serving, monitoring and analytics technologies.

"Our clients and therefore our industry are becoming more technology driven," Martin Sorrell, WPP chief executive, said in a statement. "24/7 Real Media significantly enhances our capabilities, technological resources and talent."

With 24/7, London-based WPP aims to enhance its clients' abilities to target and reach customers via search marketing, online display advertising and sophisticated ad management tools.

Under the deal, WPP will pay $11.75 for each share of New York-based 24/7. Shares of 24/7 rose 3.8 percent to $11.69 in morning trading.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

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