Publicis agrees $3.7bn Sapient takeover

Maurice Levy Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Publicis boss Maurice Levy has been looking for a big deal since the Omnicom collapse

French advertising giant Publicis has agreed to buy US-based Sapient for $3.7bn (£2.3bn) in cash.

The deal comes seven months after the collapse of Publicis' bid to boost its US presence via a merger with Omnicom.

Sapient, an internet marketing specialist, made profits of $85.9m on turnover of $1.36bn last year.

Publicis, the world's third largest advertising group, is trying to catch up ground on its bigger rivals WPP and Interpublic.

Publicis chief executive Maurice Levy said the deal "will give Publicis access to new markets and create new revenue streams".

Sapient's clients include Fiat, Unilever, and Marks & Spencer.

Sapient boss Alan Herrick will continue to run the company and is to join Publicis' management team, while Jerry Greenberg, the current co-chairman of Sapient's board will become a board member of Publicis.

The collapse of the Omnicom deal, as a result of a failure to resolve tax issues and cultural differences between the companies, prompted a boardroom shake-up at Publicis.

The $35bn merger would have created an advertising giant to overtake WPP, employing 130,000 staff with annual sales of €20bn.

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