NEWS4 November 2014

Publicis buys Sapient for $3.7bn

Europe M&A News

FRANCE — Publicis, the French marketing services group, has bought US consultancy Sapient for $3.7bn to further build its digital offering.


The deal was announced months after the breakdown of the proposed $35bn merger between Publicis and Omnicom.

The Sapient acquisition is part of the company’s plan to ensure more than half of its revenue comes from digital and will mean it reaches that goal three years ahead of its 2018 plan.

Maurice Lévy, Publicis chief executive (pictured), 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.”

Sapient chief executive and co-chairman Alan Herrick will join Publicis Groupe’s senior management team as chief executive of, what will now be known as, Publicis.Sapient.

The Sapient deal follows a number of digital acquisitions undertaken by Publicis in recent years including Digitas, Razorfish, Rosetta and LBi.

A war of words broke out between Sir Martin Sorrell chief executive of WPP and Lévy following the announcement with Sorrell saying it looked “like the behaviour of a jilted lover”. Lévy responded: “I don’t know what Martin knows about love. I don’t believe that’s his area of expertise. If it’s about hatred, it’s an area where he has a lot of talent. When it comes to love, he should leave it to the French.”