Publicis Groupe acquires Sapient in £2.3bn deal

Publicis Groupe has acquired marketing services network Sapient in a deal worth £2.3 billion as it looks to build on a spate of high-profile acquisitions.

Sapient operates digital consultancy Sapient Nitro

Sapient, which will be renamed Publicis Sapient, has been bought as Publicis Groupe looks to become “the leader at the convergence of communication, marketing, commerce and technology”.

Publicis Groupe predicts that following the acquisition, its digital revenues will now account for more than 50 per cent of total revenues. 

Sapient was founded in 1990, has offices in 37 cities and employs 13,000 staff. One of its divisions is digital consultancy SapientNitro. The other two are Sapient Global Markets and Sapient Government Services.

The Sapient divisions could be working alongside the likes of Publicis digital consultancies Poke, DigitasLBi, Razorfish Global and Rosetta as part of a broader offer.

Publicis Groupe says that Publicis Sapient will be able to expand into new sectors and work with new clients.

Sapient currently works across sectors including financial services, retail, technology and communications, consumer packaged goods, travel and leisure, automotive, energy services, and government, health and education.

Publicis Groupe foresees Publicis Sapient being able to deliver greater value to clients at a competitive cost and in an accelerated time frame.

Publicis Sapient will be led by Alan J. Herrick, who has been Sapient’s chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors since October 2006.

The cash deal – worth around £15 a share – has already been approved by the management and supervisory boards of Publicis Groupe and the board of directors of Sapient.

Publicis Groupe chairman and chief executive Maurice Lévy says that Sapient is a “crown jewel” company, which has a technology background and strengths in marketing, communications, consulting and omni-channel commerce.

Lévy says: “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.”

Earlier this year Lévy agreed to stay on in his position after a plabs for “mega-merger” with advertising network Omnicom broke down.

Branding consultancies Salterbaxter and Turner Duckworth have both been acquired by Publicis Groupe this year.

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