Publicis Groupe to Acquire Digital Agency Sapient for $3.7 Billion All-Cash Transaction


Publicis Groupe announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Publicis Groupe will acquire Sapient in an all-cash transaction for $25.00 per share. The agreement has been approved unanimously by the Management and Supervisory Boards of Publicis Groupe and the Board of Directors of Sapient.

The acquisition is aimed at helping Publicis bolster the digital side of its vast company portfolio, which includes Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, and Digitas. Sapient, which began as a tech consulting company in the 1990s and reinvented itself after the dot-com bust and eventually pivoted to advertising. It is now one of the last independent digital agencies, working for big clients such as Mondelez, Target, and Coke.

“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, all of which are equally important to best help clients achieve their digital transformation,” said Maurice Lévy, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe. “It will also give Publicis Groupe access to new markets and 2/7creating new revenue streams. This acquisition fulfills many of Publicis Groupe’s objectives: we will enhance our leadership position in digital, achieve our goal of deriving 50% of our revenues from digital and technology three years ahead of our 2018 plan, and leverage technology, consulting capabilities to expand in new verticals, and offering new and exciting opportunities to our talents.”

This merger comes at the tradition agency models because less and less relevant to the digital landscape. Companies are using more than just a few agencies to do creative work and are pressuring agencies to reduce fees. Publicis, the third largest ad company in the world, is still reeling from the aftermath of its failed merger with rival Omnicom. With this, Sapient has positioned itself as a standalone shop for brands to get a range of marketing and technology services, including making a site, driving traffic, designing apps, managing e-commerce functionality and integrating back-end technology systems.

“This transaction provides substantial value to our shareholders, offers an ideal cultural match for our people and provides an opportunity to share a wealth of new capabilities with our clients,” said Alan J. Herrick, Sapient President, CEO and Co-Chairman. “The Sapient team has been on a 24-year journey building a company with the objective of creating significant impact for our clients and the industries in which they operate. With Publicis Groupe, we have found a partner that accelerates the level of transformation we can drive into the marketplace.”


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