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WPP Invests $3 Mil. in Video Game Publisher

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NEW YORK WPP Group has invested $3 million in online videogame company WildTangent.

The holding company joined five venture capital firms in the $13 million round of funding. Redmond, Wash.-based WildTangent plans to use the cash to expand its ad-supported game network.

WildTangent has shifted its business model: instead of creating advergames, it now acts as a distributor of online amusements. Its "virtual console" is bundled with more than 85 percent of PCs sold in North America, according to the company. It also operates a videogame ad network that covers hundreds of games, including recent addition Runescape.

The investment will help WildTangent expand its relationship with WPP agencies and clients, said Dave Madden, evp of sales at the company.

"It's great to get advice and counsel from one of the largest communications companies in the world," he said.

Madden said WPP would help WildTangent better understand the needs of agencies and advertisers when it comes to research and metrics for the nascent field of videogame advertising.

WildTangent has worked with several WPP agencies, including JWT, Young & Rubicam and Mindshare.

The investment is the third deal in emerging technologies WPP has made this summer. Last month, it formed a joint venture with LiveWorld to create social networks for clients, and earlier this week it bought a stake in Visible Technologies, a Seattle-based firm that monitors brand reputations in the blogosphere and social networking sites.