Publicis Groupe leads JP Morgan's new biz rankings after tough 2019

Publicis has been battling against the tide to keep investors happy / Publicis Groupe

Publicis Groupe has emerged as the surprise leader of JP Morgan's annual holding group new business rankings for 2019, a surprising end to a tough 12 months for the business financially.

The Starcom, Zenith and BBH owner registered a net increase of £2.23bn in billings for the year, which JP Morgan estimated to represent around $77m in extra revenue.

JP Morgan’s chart is compiled by looking at company claims, media reports and the bank's own analysis.

Big wins from Disney (which announced plans to split its $3bn media accounts between Publicis and Omincom agencies in October), LVMH and Nivea helped the network hold on to the title for the second year in a row.

However, despite coming top of the new biz league, Publicis has been battling against the tide to keep investors happy.

The firm's shares fell by as much as 12% in October after it reported a 2.7% revenue decrease for the third quarter and said it would likely be down 2.5% for the year; all despite earlier assurances that organic revenue would be “broadly stable”.

At the time, chief executive Arthur Sadoun blamed ongoing cuts from predominantly US clients on traditional advertising and the “softer than expected” performance of its media agencies for the shock showing.

It's understood, however, that the leader sees the JP Morgan rankings as a demonstration that the holding network's 'Power of One' model is yielding fruit.

"2020 will be about transforming all of these efforts into organic growth and I know I can count on you," Sadoun told staff in an email seen by The Drum.

Interpublic came in second place with $1.1bn net increase in billings and $54m revenue. However, all the other holding groups were in the red.

Omnicom won just over $2bn in business, but reported a net loss of $71m. Though revenues were still up by $17m.

Elsewhere, Havas' billings net loss amounted to $490 and MDC Partners’ was $404m.

WPP, which is in the midst of a transformation plan spearheaded by chief executive Mark Read, lost $627m, while Dentsu was in the red by $605m.

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