Publicis Groupe (France)

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Publicis Groupe has forced its way into the top ranks of the world's leading marketing organisations through a string of canny and transformational acquisitions. Having learned painful lessons from a disastrous alliance with FCB during the 1990s, CEO Maurice Levy's acquisition of Saatchi & Saatchi in 2000 proved far more harmonious. Even more impressive was the agreed takeover of Leo Burnett two years later. Another jewel in the Publicis crown is multi-hub creative network Bartle Bogle Hegarty, wholly owned since 2012. After a shaky start, Publicis has shown itself to be a worthy rival to established giants WPP and Omnicom. The group is especially strong in digital marketing. It acquired US-based Digitas in 2006, and broadened that network's footprint significantly. A deal to acquire rival digital agency Razorfish in 2009 allowed Publicis to overtake Interpublic as the world's third largest marketing services group. A series of further small and medium-sized acquisitions followed between 2010 and 2012, capped in 2013 by what was intended to be CEO Maurice Levy's crowning glory, a transformational deal whereby Publicis and larger rival Omnicom would merge to create the world's #1 marketing services giant. Despite securing most regulatory approvals, the deal eventually foundered on disagreements over the final structure of a combined group and was called off in May 2014. Instead, Levy unveiled a new deal a few months later with an agreement to acquire digital group Sapient for $3.7bn. However, the group's performance slumped dramatically following the collapse of the Omnicom deal, prompting a mammoth structural reorganisation during 2016. It fell to Levy's successor as CEO, former creative chief Arthur Sadoun, to restore Publicis to solid growth. That has been a slow and difficult process, complicated by the Covid pandemic. Instead, the Groupe has continued to feed topline growth with further acquisitions. In 2019, Publicis announced its biggest ever, agreeing to pay $3.95bn for US data and CRM giant Epsilon. In Q1 2021, it finally returned to organic growth for the first time since mid-2019. Net revenues for 2021 were €10.5bn, with net income of €1.0bn.

Capsule checked 30th April 2021

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Publicis Groupe's Quarterly Organic Growth since 2017 (subscribers only)

Who are the competitors of Publicis Groupe? See ranking of Leading Global Marketing Groups

See also:

Publicis Worldwide
Leo Burnett
Saatchi & Saatchi
Starcom MediaVest
ZenithOptimedia
BBH
DigitasLBi
Rosetta
Publicis Health
MSLGroup
Fallon

Historical profile information for Publicis Groupe

Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Marketer Moves 24th May 2022: Publicis Groupe North America raids Omnicom for two top media executives. See Marketer Moves (members only).

Adbrands Update 16th May 2022: With all results now in, Stagwell delivered the industry's best performance for the quarter with organic growth of 23.6%. Omnicom was the best of the majors at 11.9%, followed by Interpublic at 11.5% and Havas at 11.4%. A little way behind was Publicis (despite its string of account wins) with 10.5%, followed by WPP at 9.5% and then Dentsu with 9.1%.

Adbrands Update 4th May 2022: Always acquisitive Publicis Groupe added ecommerce company Profitero to its collection for around $200m. The target business offers ecommerce software and analytics services that allow brands to compare prices with competitors, monitor product availability and track customer feedback. Profitero is currently led by Bryan Wiener and Sarah Hofstetter, who joined the company in 2020 after running ComScore, and were before that the leaders of 360i up to and following its acquisition by Dentsu in 2010.

Adbrands Update 14th Mar 2022: Riding high on several reports which named it as the top group for new business in 2021, Publicis Groupe reported organic growth for Q1 2022 of 10.5%. Reported revenues for the quarter were €2.8bn. All regions except North America reported double digit organic growth between 13% and 15%; North America was 8.1%. The Groupe doesn't report quarterly profits, but noted an €87m exceptional loss for the previously announced disposal of its operations in Russia. It remains to be seen how Publicis stacks up against its rivals for organic growth in the latest quarter. For example, despite adding a reported $5bn in net billings last year, far ahead of all its rivals, Publicis ranked only 3rd in organic revenue growth (at 10.0% for the year) behind WPP (12.1%) and Interpublic (11.9%). Indeed, for the last two quarters of 2021 it reported the lowest organic growth of any major marketing group. In other words, growth in billings has not - so far at least - been reflected by organic growth in revenues. The proof will come this year. Those massive account gains last year must surely mean Publicis will top the organic growth rankings for 2022. Time will tell. See Publicis Groupe's Quarterly Organic Growth since 2017

Adbrands Update 15th Mar 2022: Publicis Groupe is the latest marketing group to pull out of Russia, effective immediately. CEO Arthur Sadoun announced today that the Groupe is transferring ownership of all its operations in Russia to local management led by Sergey Koptev "with the clear contractual condition of ensuring a future for employees there". He said Publicis had been working for the past two weeks to find a solution that safeguards its 1,200 employees.

Adbrands Update 10th Mar 2022: With all financial results now in, Dentsu headed the rankings table by organic growth in Q4 at 14.2%, followed by Interpublic at 11.7%. Stagwell comes next at 11.3% followed by WPP at 10.8%, Omnicom at 9.5% and finally Publicis and Havas both at 9.3%. Most observers might wonder how Publicis - given its seemingly endless catalogue of account gains in recent months - has managed to end up with the industry's lowest organic growth metric for this quarter. The answer can only be that Publicis is gaining billings at the cost of organic revenue growth; in other words, by undercutting rival groups in the fees it charges.

Adbrands Update 3rd Feb 2022: Reaping the rewards from a run of significant account gains, Publicis Groupe reported strong results for the final quarter of 2021 and the full year. Organic growth for 4Q was 9.3%. That was down sharply from the previous two quarters, reducing full year growth against 2020 to 10.0%. A more informative comparison against pre-pandemic 2019, showed full-year organic growth of 3%. On a two-year basis, revenues from North America were up strongly, but Europe, the Groupe's second largest region and its home territory, was still negative. Indeed, on a reported basis too, European revenues of €2.5bn in 2021 are still below the equivalent figures for, not just 2019, but every previous year since 2014. In simple terms, most of the Groupe's growth in the past six years has come from North America, and to some extent at the expense of business in Europe, where local revenues were heading towards €2.8bn as recently as 2017. Back to 2021: net revenue for 4Q was €2.9bn, lifting full year revenues to €10.5bn. Net income for the year jumped by 78% to €1.0bn, delivering two important symbolic victories for Publicis. For the first time in the Groupe's history, topline exceeded €10bn and net income surpassed €1bn. See Quarterly Organic Growth since 2016 (subscribers only)

Marketer Moves 15th Nov 2021: New global chief client officer at Publicis Groupe. See Marketer Moves (members only).

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