IPG, Facebook Forge Deal

The Interpublic Group of Companies Wednesday said that it had finalized a deal to acquire a small stake--about one-half of one percent--of online social networking site Facebook.

As expected, IPG also will buy a guaranteed minimum of at least $10 million of advertising on Facebook.

In addition to giving IPG a role in creating ad formats for the site, the deals will likely include some degree of exclusivity for IPG clients. IPG will also be able to use the site as a data mine for trends in youth consumer habits, by conducting market research on the site.

Facebook, which is especially popular with college students, attracted 14 million unique visitors last month. Founded in February 2004 by Harvard University undergraduate Mark Zuckerberg, the site now reaches 85 percent of U.S. college students, and is available to high school students as well. Several months ago, the site also opened itself to some corporate employees.

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This deal marks at least the second time in recent weeks that a large advertising business has formed a relationship directly with a social media property. Earlier this month, the WPP Group's JWT (formerly J. Walter Thompson) struck a deal with blogging site Huffington Post to place TV ads on the site.

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