MSL Group is the main public relations business within Publicis Groupe, created towards the end of 2009 from the merger of MS&L in North America and Publicis Consultants in Europe. It was the final stage in the gradual evolution of what had previously been multiple separate PR and corporate communications subsidiaries. The business was transferred into the parent group's Publicis Communications in 2015, the same year that Guillaume Herbette was appointed as CEO. As of 2018 MSL claimed a network of 106 offices in 40 countries, including affiliates. It is best known for consumer and healthcare PR, but also has speciality practices for corporate communications, public affairs, events & experiential and technology among other segments. Industry watcher The Holmes Report estimated total fee income of $485m in 2017, ranking MSL as the world's #5 PR group. It claims to be the #1 in Europe, and is a major force in Asia, the local leader in both India and China. A handful of specialised communications agencies continue to operate under their own brands within the wider MSL umbrella. They include US financial communications giant Kekst, social purpose specialst SalterBaxter and events and experiential agencies Publicis Live - founder-organisers of the celebrated annual World Economic Forum in Davos - and Publicis XP. The cornerstone of the current network was supplied by Manning Selvage & Lee, itself formed in 1972 from the merger of two separate US public relations businesses with roots dating back to the 1930s. It was acquired by Benton & Bowles advertising agency in 1980, and was able to retain its separate identity through the series of corporate mergers and takeovers which followed. It joined Publicis Groupe in 2000 with the acquisition of BCom3.
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Account assignments & selected contact information
Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets. Adbrands Weekly Update is a weekly summary of the latest news affecting leading advertisers and their advertising and marketing agencies.
Historical profile information for MSL Group
Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:
Adbrands Weekly Update 6th Jul 2017: New Publicis CEO Arthur Sadoun is continuing the acquisitive tradition established by his predecessor Maurice Levy. This week the group inked a deal to acquire Australian marketing services group Herd for an undisclosed sum. Its main subsidiary is leading local PR agency N2N Communications, and the deal also includes satellites Fuel Communications and Touch Creative. The business will merge with the local arm of Publicis Groupe's PR division under the banner Herd MSL.
Adbrands Weekly Update 28th Apr 2016: The Holmes Report published its latest ranking of the world's leading PR agencies by fee income. Edelman easily retained the #1 position, albeit with a slightly reduced margin over second-placed Weber Shandwick, owned by Interpublic. Omnicom's FleishmanHillard and Ketchum held the #3 and #4 positions. WPP's Burson-Marsteller moved up to equal 5th alongside Publicis-owned MSLGroup. However the biggest change was a 37% increase in fee income for China's BlueFocus which jumped five places in the ranking to the #10 spot, unseating Havas PR. Among the holding companies, Omnicom slipped from first to third place by combined estimated fee income, behind Interpublic and WPP.
Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd July 2015: It was a busy week for Publicis. The Groupe heaped additional responsibility onto the shoulders of Arthur Sadoun, widely regarded as the heir apparent to CEO Maurice Levy, who is due to retire next year. Sadoun retains his role as global CEO for the Publicis Worldwide network, but will also take command of PR business MSLGroup. Its current chief Olivier Fleurot moves to a centralised role as SVP, communications, social responsibility and other administrative areas. The Groupe stressed that there will be no merger of Publicis WW and MSL; according to Levy the move is design to "leverage and integrate our formidable PR and strategic communications capabilities in the service of all Groupe client's campaigns", while also no doubt further testing and honing Sadoun's managerial abilities.
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