Publicis ups stakes in Nestle battle with WPP by buying China’s G4

On the face of it Publicis Groupe buying Beijing agency G4 looks a touch unnecessary as it already has 3,700 employees scattered across China and hitherto independent agency G4, only started in 2009, has just 25 in Beijing.

But Publicis is going to roll in its Nestle Beijing team and make the enlarged entity the centre for its Nestle operations in China.

Nestle, the world’s biggest food company, is crucial to both Publicis and deadly rival WPP and Publicis boss Maurice Levy, or maybe heir apparent Jean-Yves Naouri who now looks after China, clearly sees the G4 crew as crucial to the company’s ambitions with Nestle.

Publicis seems to be in the ascendant over WPP on Nestle, recently winning the company’s giant $900m media account against WPP in the United States.

With the Chinese ad market forecast to grow by ten per cent this year, compared to barely any growth in Europe, the stakes are clearly high for both agency groups.

How will WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell, hardly Maurice Levy’s best friend, fight back?

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