Publicis buys SapientNitro for $3.7 billion

Publicis boss Maurice Levy paying 44% premium for Sapient in the all-cash deal

Gideon Spanier
Monday 03 November 2014 13:38
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Saatchi & Saatchi owner Publicis Groupe has splashed out $3.7 billion (£2.3 billion) on digital advertising agency SapientNitro as the ad industry battles for greater scale against Facebook and Google.

US-based Sapient is one of the biggest independent agencies with sales of £780 million last year, including £80 million in the UK.

The London operation, based in Spitalfields, employs close to 900 people and clients include Marks & Spencer, Royal Bank of Scotland, Tesco, Bupa and Harley Davidson.

Publicis boss Maurice Levy is paying a chunky 44 per cent premium for Sapient’s shares in the all-cash deal. He has been under pressure after the collapse of a merger with America’s Omnicom.

US executives Jerry Greenberg and Stuart Moore each owns close to 7.5 per cent of Sapient, giving them about £175 million each. Staff are in line for shares worth at least £73 million, according to the annual report.

Publicis will have revenues of more than £6 billion after the takeover, keeping it in third behind Britain’s WPP and Omnicom.

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