Updated from 7:56 a.m. EDT

French advertising firm


Thursday denied a published report that it was back in the hunt to acquire

Young & Rubicam



According to a report in Thursday's

Wall Street Journal

, Publicis is considering an offer that would have it pay between $65 and $75 a share for New York-based Y&R in stock and cash, representing a 41% to 62% premium to its close price on Wednesday.

In a brief press release in French, Publicis said that it has not made an offer for Y&R and had no intention to do so, as conditions have not been "optimal" for a deal and those conditions have not changed.



report said that Publicis began considering a new offer after market players frowned on a planned all-stock bid from

WPP Group


, significantly reducing the price of the deal.

Both Y&R and WPP shares inched up in midmorning trading. Y&R rose 1 1/16, or 2%, to 47 5/16, while WPP increased 1 1/16, or 2%, to 63. Thursday's action reverses a decline for both companies since news of a firm agreement emerged earlier this week. An announcement of a final agreement between WPP and Y&R is reportedly scheduled for Friday. A Y&R representative did not immediately return a call for comment.

The reported offer from Publicis, though not a formal one at this point, would top that of WPP, which was

tentatively approved, according to the



British-based WPP was reportedly offering 0.835 of its American depositary receipts for each Y&R share, valuing it at $52.81 per share.

Publicis said earlier this week that it was declining to make an offer for Young & Rubicam.

The matter could snag on a couple of details though. Privately held Publicis would have to list its stock as American depositary shares, which could take more time and money than the French company is willing to forsake.

Also, Y&R's biggest client,

Ford Motor

(F) - Get Report

, prohibits its ad agency from working for auto competitors and has explicitly stated it would oppose a merger with Publicis, which has as clients car makers



General Motors'

(GM) - Get Report


division and Germany's