Publicis Groupe to acquire Sapient for $3.7bn

Publicis Groupe has bought US consultancy group Sapient for $3.7bn as it looks to strengthen its digital offering, only months after the collapse of its planned merger with Omnicom.

The all-cash transaction will result in the creation of a new platform called Publicis.Sapient, which will focus solely on digital transformation and cater to the “always-on world” across marketing, omnichannel commerce, consulting and technology, the companies have said in a statement.

The acquisition will also see Publicis reach its target of generating more than half of all its revenues from digital three years ahead of its 2018 plan.

Sapient chief executive and co-chairman Alan J Herrick will join Publicis Groupe’s senior management team as chief of Publicis.Sapient.

Co-founder and co-chairman of Sapient Jerry A Greenberg will join the Publicis supervisory board.

Publicis Groupe chairman and chief executive Maurice Lévy, said: “Sapient is a ‘crown jewel,’ a one of a kind company born in the technology space with strengths in marketing, communications, consulting and omni-channel commerce, all of which are equally important to best help clients achieve their digital transformation.

“It will also give Publicis Groupe access to new markets and creating new revenue streams. This acquisition fulfills many of Publicis Groupe’s objectives: we will enhance our leadership position in digital, achieve our goal of deriving 50 per cent of our revenues from digital and technology three years ahead of our 2018 plan, and leverage technology, consulting capabilities to expand in new verticals, and offering new and exciting opportunities to our talents.”

Alan J. Herrick, Sapient president, chief executive and co-chairman, added: “This transaction provides substantial value to our shareholders, offers an ideal cultural match for our people and provides an opportunity to share a wealth of new capabilities with our clients.

"The Sapient team has been on a 24-year journey building a company with the objective of creating significant impact for our clients and the industries in which they operate. With Publicis Groupe, we have found a partner that accelerates the level of transformation we can drive into the marketplace.”

The move will see Publicis Group command combined revenue of €8bn, combined EBITDA of approximately €1.3bn and over 75,000 people worldwide.

Sapient owns one of the last remaining independent ad agencies SapientNitro, which counts brands including Coca-Cola, and Marks and Spencer among its clients.

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