Publicis acquires public relations firm Qorvis Communications

qorvispublicisPublicis Groupe has acquired independent public relations firm Qorvis Communications. The agency will become part of MSLGROUP, Publicis Groupe’s strategic communications and engagement network.

Founded in 2000 by Managing Partner Michael Petruzzello, Qorvis employs over 80 professional and counts numerous high-profile sovereign nations, organizations and global brands among its clients, such as AAMCO, Cisco Systems, The Mayo Clinic, The United States Institute for Peace and the American Pharmacists Association.

As part of the Qorvis acquisition, MSLGROUP also acquires the full-service Clarus Research Group, led by Dr. Ronald A. Faucheux, Ph.D., a public opinion and public affairs analyst. Faucheux will also play a leadership role in MSLGROUP North America’s overall planning and analytics offering.

The combined MSLGROUP and Qorvis operations in Washington, D.C. will operate under the name of Qorvis MSLGROUP with Petruzzello as President. He will also be the agency’s North America Practice Director of Public Affairs and will report to Renee Wilson, President of MSLGROUP North America.

“The acquisition of Qorvis allows us to bring our clients around the world important new relationships and capabilities inside the Beltway and beyond,” said Renee Wilson, President, of MSLGROUP North America.

France, Paris & USA, Washington, DC

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Publicis acquires 75.1% of Walker Media

walkermediaPublicis Groupe is to acquire 75.1% of UK based independent media agency Walker Media for £36 million. M&C Saatchi, the current owner, will retain a 24.9% shareholding. Clients include Marks & Spencer, Dixons Group, KFC, Halfords and Weetabix. Walker Media had gross assets of £49.1m as at 31 December 2012 and operating profit of £5.2m for the 12 months ended 31 December 2012. The deal is expected to complete on 27 November 2013.

Walker Media will become part of the ZenithOptimedia Group.

The Walker Media board will be comprised of:

  • Phil Georgiadis, Chairman, Walker Media
  • Simon Davis, CEO, Walker Media
  • Steve King, CEO, Worldwide, ZenithOptimedia
  • Adrian Sayliss, COO, Worldwide, ZenithOptimedia
  • David Kershaw, CEO, M&C Saatchi
  • Jamie Hewitt, Group Finance Director, M&C Saatchi

The new ZenithOptimedia Group in the UK will be comprised of: Zenith, Optimedia, ZenithOptimedia Worldwide, Walker Media, Performics (digital performance marketing), Newcast (branded content), Ninah (analytics) and Sponsorship Intelligence. The group employs around 500 people.

Steve King, CEO Worldwide, ZenithOptimedia said, “Walker Media is the biggest and most successful independent media agency in the UK and we are absolutely delighted to welcome them to the ZenithOptimedia family. The agency was built and developed on the principle of client centricity and its incredible success is testament to this. I have known Phil Georgiadis for many years and I couldn’t think of a better person to lead our new media network in the UK.”

France, Paris & UK, London

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Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe to merge

publicis OmnicomOmnicom Group and Publicis Groupe are to merge, creating the world’s largest communications, advertising, marketing and digital services company, with combined 2012 revenue of $22.7 billion / €17.7 billion. Based on closing prices on July 26, 2013, Publicis Omnicom Group will have a combined equity market capitalization of approximately $35.1 billion / €26.5 billion. The merged group will have more than 130,000 employees. The merger is expected to generate efficiencies of $500 million / €377 million.

The Publicis Omnicom Group will include BBDO, Saatchi & Saatchi, DDB, Leo Burnett, TBWA, Razorfish, Publicis Worldwide, Fleishman-Hillard, DigitasLBi, Ketchum, StarcomMediaVest, OMD, BBH, Interbrand, MSLGROUP, RAPP, Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG), Proximity, Rosetta, CDM, ZenithOptimedia and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

Maurice Lévy, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe, said: “The communication and marketing landscape has undergone dramatic changes in recent years including the exponential development of new media giants, the explosion of Big Data, blurring of the roles of all players and profound changes in consumer behavior. This evolution has created both great challenges and tremendous opportunities for clients. John and I have conceived this merger to benefit our clients by bringing together the most comprehensive offering of analog and digital services. Equally important, it will offer our talented people new avenues for growth and success at the crossroads of strategic intelligence, creativity, science and technology.”

John Wren, CEO of Omnicom, said: “Both Maurice and I believe this new company reflects our vision of retaining the best talent, attracting an incredible roster of clients and leading innovation. Omnicom and Publicis Groupe are reshaping the industry by setting a new standard for supporting clients with integrated messaging across marketing disciplines and geographies. This combination will enable us to leverage the skills of our exceptionally talented people, our broad product offering, enhanced global footprint, and tremendous roster of global and local clients. In short, we believe this is a merger that will set our new company on a path to accelerated growth, with long-term benefits for clients, employees and shareholders.”

The Publicis Omnicom Group is being announced as a merger of equals. Publicis Groupe and Omnicom’s CEOs will lead the company as co-CEOs through an initial integration and development period of 30 months, following which Mr. Lévy will become non-executive Chairman and Mr. Wren will continue as CEO. The company will have a single-tier board with 16 members, consisting of the two co-CEOs and seven non-executive directors from each company.

For the first year following the closing of the transaction, Bruce Crawford, currently Omnicom Chairman, will be the non-executive Chairman of Publicis Omnicom Group. He will be succeeded by the current Publicis Groupe Chairperson, Elisabeth Badinter, as non-executive Chairperson for the second year following the closing of the transaction.

The transaction is a cross-border merger of equals under a holding company, Publicis Omnicom Group, in The Netherlands. The Group’s operational head offices will continue to be based in Paris and New York. The merger is expected to be tax-free to the shareholders of both companies. The transaction has been structured so that the shareholders of Publicis Groupe and Omnicom, after special dividends, will each hold approximately 50% of the equity of Publicis Omnicom Group. Publicis Groupe shareholders will receive one newly issued ordinary share of Publicis Omnicom Group for each Publicis Groupe share they own, together with a special dividend of €1.00 per share. Omnicom shareholders will receive 0.813 newly issued ordinary shares of Publicis Omnicom Group for each Omnicom share they own, together with a special dividend of $2.00 per share. In addition, Omnicom shareholders will receive up to two regular quarterly dividends of $0.40 per share if declared and the record date occurs prior to closing.

Publicis Omnicom Group is expected to be listed on the NYSE and Euronext Paris, traded under the symbol OMC, and to be included in the S&P 500 and CAC 40. The transaction is subject to approval by the shareholders of both companies as well as numerous regulatory approvals. It is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013 or the first quarter of 2014. Publicis Groupe and Omnicom have expressed the desire to have their shares start trading simultaneously on the day of announcement. As a consequence and because of the time difference, Publicis Groupe has asked Euronext Paris to postpone the trading of its shares to 9.30am New York time / 3.30pm Paris time.

Moelis & Company is financial advisor to Omnicom on the transaction. Rothschild is acting as financial advisor to Publicis Groupe. Legal advisors to Omnicom are Latham & Watkins LLP and De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek N.V. Legal advisors to Publicis Groupe are Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier; and NautaDulith N.V. Jones Day provided counsel to Moelis & Company.

USA, New York, NY and France, Paris

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Publicis Groupe Acquires Longtuo

Publicis Groupe has acquired Beijing-based Longtuo, a digital marketing company with strong eCommerce expertise in creative, customer acquisition, marketing solutions and measurement tools. Longtuo will be part of the Groupe-owned Razorfish network and will be named Razorfish Longtuo China.

Founded in 2000, Longtuo employs 200 people throughout its Beijing headquarters and Shanghai and Guangzhou offices. The addition of Longtuo will more than double the size of Razorfish in China, which currently employs 130 people and provides e-Commerce services to clients such as Converse, Hertz, and GM Onstar.

Longtuo serves a prestigious roster of Chinese marketers including 360buy, Kohler, Masamaso, Taobao (the country’s two largest B2C e-Commerce portals) and Yves Rocher. Longtuo also contracts work for Renault, providing website development and content management, as well as traffic measurement and analysis.

The acquisition of Longtuo will give Publicis Groupe more commanding clout in China’s booming e-Commerce market, which Forrester projects to be a $94.6 billion business in 2012. eMarketer estimates the market to grow at more than 92% annually for the next three years and forecasts China will become the world’s largest e-Commerce marketplace by 2015.

Longtuo’s CEO and founding partner, SU Yi, will become Managing Director of Razorfish Longtuo China, and will report to Vincent Digonnet, President of Razorfish Asia Pacific and Executive Chairman of Razorfish Greater China.

Jean-Yves Naouri, Publicis Groupe COO and Chairman of Publicis Groupe China added: “The forecasts for e-Commerce growth in China are spectacular. With new advances in payment technology, broadband access and safe delivery systems making e-Commerce an attractive alternative to retail shops, China has the potential to become the world’s premier e-Commerce market very swiftly, outstripping even the United States. This acquisition means we’re now perfectly positioned to offer our international clients first-in-class local expertise. In addition, with 70% of e-Commerce spending in China currently going to Chinese businesses, Longtuo opens our doors to a number of key clients. The Groupe is accelerating our drive to meet our ambitious targets for growth in China.”

The acquisition of Longtuo is another step towards Publicis Groupe’s objective to double its size in the fast-growing Chinese market between 2010 and 2013. This goal is part of an overall strategy of strongly boosting revenue derived from emerging economies and from the digital sector. In the past four months Publicis Groupe has acquired four agencies based inChina: UBS (February 2012), King Harvests (March 2012), Luminous (March 2012) and now Longtuo. Since 2010, the Groupe has acquired W&K (April 2010) G4 (July 2010) Eastwei Relations (November 2010), Interactive Communications Ltd (February 2011), Dreams (May 2011), Genedigi (June 2011), Wangfan (November 2011), and Gomye (November 2011).

France, Paris & China, Beijing

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Publicis Groupe acquires U-Link Business Solutions

Publicis Groupe has acquired U-Link Business Solutions Co. Ltd (UBS), one of the leading Chinese agencies specialised in healthcare communications.

UBS will become part of Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG) and will be renamed UBS Saatchi & Saatchi Health.

Founded in 1997, UBS employs approximately 170 people at its Shanghai headquarters and Beijing office. UBS offers PR, events management, medical association relationships and brand management to its clients, which include Abbott, GenSci Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Roche, Wyeth and Xian-Janssen.

The Chinese healthcare market is one of the fastest growing in the world” declared Nick Colucci, CEO and President of PHCG: “Adding UBS to our portfolio brings the Saatchi & Saatchi Health flagship brand to China, and will make PHCG one of the largest healthcare communications groups in the region.”

UBS co-founder and CEO Frank Xu will remain at the helm, taking the title of Managing Director and reporting directly to Ash Kuchel, President of PHCG Asia Pacific region.

With UBS’s acquisition PHCG continues its expansion in Asia, following its recent acquisitions of Beijing Dreams Advertising and Beijing Dreams Zhiyang Communication (May 2011) and the India-based Watermelon agency (March 2011).

This is the latest in a series of China agency additions for Publicis Groupe that includes Wangfan and Gomye (November 2011), Genedigi (June 2011), Dreams (May 2011), Interactive Communications Ltd (February 2011) and Eastwei Relations (November 2010).

France, Paris & China, Shanghai

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Publicis Groupe full year and fourth quarter results

Publicis Groupe has reported results for the full year and fourth quarter ended December 31, 2011.

Publicis Groupe is the most active acquirer by volume in the Media and Marketing industry between 2009 and 2011 with 39 transactions, 24 of which were announced or closed in 2011. A list of Publicis Groupe acquisitions articles published on Fusion DigiNet is at the end of this article.

“In a context of sovereign debt crisis and economic slowdown, Publicis has not only outperformed the market, more remarkably it has improved on its own outstanding performance of 2010. The Group’s margin, which has improved very satisfactorily, is back on the 16% mark while we continued investment in technology and talent,” said Maurice Lévy, Chairman & CEO of Publicis Groupe. “We have continued to pursue our strategy of making targeted acquisitions in digital communications and high-growth countries.”

KEY FIGURES

ANALYSIS OF THE KEY FIGURES

  • Published growth             +7.3%
  • Organic growth                +5.7%
  • New Business (net)         $7.9 bn
  • Operating margin            +8.8%
  • Net income                         +14.1%
  • EPS                                       +12.3%
  • Free Cash Flow                 +9%

ACQUISITION ACTIVITY

Since the start of 2012, Publicis Groupe has made two acquisitions:

  • Mediagong in France: a digital agency specialised in digital strategy consulting, the social media,advergaming and mobile communications.
  • The Creative Factory in Russia: highly reputed in its specialized areas, namely, marketing, digital services, digital production and video. This Moscow-based agency will enable Saatchi&Saatchi to expand its foothold in Russia.

In addition to these two acquisitions, Publicis Groupe has launched a friendly takeover bid on Pixelpark, the independent German leader in digital communications.

Pixelpark’s core businesses range from the creation of digital brands, consulting, content management, the social media, mobile marketing, eBusiness solutions and data analysis and management. Publicis Groupe’s public offering has the support of Pixelpark AG’s Management Board and Supervisory Board. The bid will be tabled by the Groupe’s German subsidiary MMS Germany Holdings GmbH (MMS) registered on the Dusseldorf trade register under the reference HRB 50291. MMS will offer Pixelpark (ISIN DE000A1KRMK3) shareholders a consideration of 1.70 euro per share in exchange for their bearer shares of no nominal value. This offer is at a premium of some 28% over the estimated average share price of Pixelpark (1.33 euro) as traded on the German stock exchange during the three months up to January 20, 2012. The offer is scheduled to begin in mid-February. To date, the shares tendered by Pixelpark shareholders to MMS represent approximately 56.51% of the authorize share capital and voting rights. Among others conditions precedent, the bid will be subject to MMS acquiring at least 75% of the current share capital. The acquisition by MMS of the majority of Pixelpark shares must also be approved by Germany’s Federal Cartel Office.

On February 1, the Group announced the acquisition of Flip Media, one of the large digital agency networks in the Middle East. Flip Media is present throughout the digital chain, offering a comprehensive range of services from strategy, digital design and production, content to technological platforms. With an original, proprietary creation technology that has received many awards, Flip Media words with a number of emblematic brands.

Click here for the full Publicis Groupe announcement and fouth quarter information.

France, Paris

A list of all Publicis Groupe aquisition activity published on Fusion DigiNet is below.

Publicis Groupe acquires Mediagong

Publicis Groupe has acquired French digital agency Mediagong.

Founded in 2002, Mediagong employs some 50 communications professionals on the conception and development of innovative digital tools and interactive campaigns. Mediagong will retain its current name and will continue to operate under the leadership of its founding partners Guillaume De La Brosse, David Oks and Olivier Zetlers. They will take the title of Deputy Managers of Mediagong, an entity within Groupe Leo Burnett France, and will report to Jean-Paul Brunier, President of Groupe Leo Burnett France.

Mediagong has demonstrated strong growth (more than 25% in 2011) and is particularly noted for its creation of vivid, playful and highly interactive narrative campaigns.Its many core sectors include digital and community strategizing, social media, the development of brand content, advergaming and mobile. Mediagong’s client list is particularly strong in the food, beauty and luxury industries, as well as financial services and retail, and includes market leaders Accor hotels, Bel, Crédit Agricole, Danone, Dessange International and Lindt. Mediagong will be aligned with Leo Burnett France, one of the top ten full-service agencies in the country, which has experienced very high growth over the past two years.

“Mediagong is a smart young company with a track-record that’s already very solid and a management team that is very impressive indeed,” said Jean-Paul Brunier, President of Leo Burnett France. “They’re energetic, rigorous, structured and driven to achieve high levels of return on investment for their clients. Every project they undertake is carried out with the same passion for perfection. Digital has become key to our clients, and the French market has the potential for strong growth. This strategic acquisition means Leo Burnett will be among the very few full-service agencies with such a strong grounding in digital expertise.”

France, Paris

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