Publicis to merge LBi and Digitas to form new global digital marketing group DigitasLBi
Following the completion of its takeover by Publicis, digital agency LBi is to be merged with Digitas to form at new digital agency network, which will be led by LBi chief executive Luke Taylor. Taylor will act as global CEO of DigitasLBi, which will have a total of 5,700 employees across 25 countries and will see him report directly to Bob Lord, CEO of Publicis Groupe’s Digital Technology Division. Meanwhile, a senior team of LBi, Digitas and Publicis Groupe executives will oversee the merger process, led by Stephan Beringer, CEO, Digitas and Razorfish International, it has been announced. “Advertisers need a truly integrated and global digital network that can anticipate trends, forecast the ‘next’, while constantly innovating in our ever-changing world,” explained Maurice Lévy, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe. “The combination of Digitas and LBi will create the world’s leading concentration of digital skills and competencies in the world, capable of delivering solutions to all clients, everywhere. I’m very happy that Luke will be managing this new global network. I’m sure that he will bring innovative vision and market-defining services to our clients, and this is and will always be our relentless focus. The formation of DigitasLBi is an essential landmark. It will certainly be the most competitive, attractive network in the market for both clients and talent. The announcement also claimed that the new entity would offer an ‘end-to-end’ proprietary technology suite’ through the offer of LBi’s Audience Engagement Platform and Digitas’ CRM365 Intelligence Platform and BrandLIVE to clients. Despite the merger, Colin Kinsella will continue as chief executive of Digitas North America and Ewen Sturgeon will remain chief executive of LBi, Europe, Middle East and Asia. Social media agency MRY will remain a standalone entity however, and will continue to be led by founder and CEO Matt Britton. In response to the news, Marc Nohr, CEO of Kittcat Nohr Digitas said of the merger: "While on a global level this presents many exciting opportunities and is very positive, here in the UK at Kitcatt Nohr Digitas there are no planned changes and we will continue to operate business as usual. There will be no disruption to the management of our much valued client projects." The €416m acquisition deal between LBi and Publicis was completed last Thursday having initially been announced last year.