NEWS21 September 2012

LBi to be acquired by Publicis Groupe for €416m


UK — Digital agency LBi has announced that it has reached an agreement with Publicis Group to be acquired for €416m. The deal includes the data businesses Bigmouthmedia and social media marketing and insights firm Mr Youth, founded by Matt Britton (pictured).

Under the deal, Publicis Groupe intends to pay LBi €2.85 per share in cash with LBi’s board recommending the deal to its shareholders. If the deal completes successfully, it will enable Publicis Groupe to increase its share of digital revenues to over 35%.

LBi specialises in audience engagement and offers its clients bespoke proprietary technology designed to gain insights that inform the content it creates, and the audiences the client is trying to reach. The agency recently appointed Michele Chang-McGrath (pictured) as head of research to lead the existing research team and develop a new proposition to help build business value for clients.

It acquired New York-based Mr Youth in a deal valued at between $40m and $50m in 2011. Britton continues to serve as Mr Youth’s chief executive officer and is also chief social architect at LBi. Bigmouthmedia was acquired in 2010 and specialises in offering full service analytics capabilities to the agency’s clients which include Lloyds TSB, Volvo, Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, Carlsberg and Ikea.

“The acquisition of LBi is another step forward in further strengthening our digital operations” said Maurice Lévy, chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe. “Within the global advertising landscape, LBi is a well known partner for extraordinary digital customer experiences, based on a blend of creativity and expertise in technology, strategy and social media. The integration of LBi will further enhance our capabilities and, through a wider pool of resources and talent, help deliver innovative and best-in-class services to our clients, which is our relentless focus.”

Luke Taylor, CEO of LBi, added: “Publicis Groupe has consistently demonstrated a clear and emphatic belief in the importance of digital media and is recognised for grooming and managing its talent worldwide. Our entire strategy to date is built on a commitment to relentlessly drive and optimise value for our clients. There is now a unique opportunity to pace set the market and collaborate across new geographies and marketing services so that we can accelerate our strategic plans aimed at providing clients with a globally integrated offering.”

The transaction is expected to be accretive to Publicis Groupe’s earnings per share in the first year post acquisition, before the impact of any synergies and integration costs.