Publicis Groupe snaps up Johan Bjorksten’s Eastwei PR business in China – why is rival Sir Martin Sorrell so quiet?

Ever since Publicis Groupe boss Maurice Levy decided not to retire the French marcoms group has been in rampant rabbit mode, snapping up agencies here there and everywhere.

Now it’s bought Eastwei Relations in China along with Swedish founder Johan Bjorksten, a celebrity in Far Eastern business circles with numerous books and articles to his name.

Eastwei will become part of Publicis’ MSL network in China and shows clearly that Publicis is on the tail of Sir Martin Sorrell’s WPP, still the biggest Western marcoms group in China.

Eastwei in itself isn’t that big a business, although highly influential thanks to Bjorksten, and neither is Talent, the Brazilian agency Publicis recently snapped up despite interest from WPP.

But it shows that Levy is on the acquisition case and Sorrell, back at WPP, must be itching to brandish the cheque book to show the indefatigable Frenchman who’s boss.

But WPP has made its name by buying big things: Ogilvy, JWT, Grey, Y&R, TNS. And there aren’t too many of those around at the moment.

A poser for Sir Martin. In the meantime Le Roi Maurice straddles the globe, like a French privateer blowing grapeshot into the faces of Sir Martin’s Royal Navy.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.