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Publicis joins the buy battle with Russia deal as WPP wraps up eighth acquisition of 2012

Publicis Groupe’s Maurice Levy has been a bit slow out of the blocks in 2012 compared to great rival Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP but the French marcoms giant has broken its duck for the new year by buying Moscow’s The Creative Factory, a non-traditional agency specialising in shopper marketing, events and digital production.

TCF will be rolled into Saatchi & Saatchi in Russia and founders Alex Shifrin and Sam Rothman will stay on as managing directors. TCF’s clients include Burger King, IKEA, John Deere, Nike and Tele2.

At the same time WPP has struck its eighth deal of 2012, buying 75 per cent of Israeli media agency Union Media for its existing Israeli operation Shalmor Avnon Amichay Advertising. Yesterday WPP announced it had bought 51 per cent of Jordanian agency IDEA which is to be rebranded as JWT Jordan.

“We firmly believe that Russia will continue to deliver powerful growth for our clients,” says Lévy. “Russia was the world’s eleventh largest advertising market in 2011; in 2013 it will be the tenth, and by 2014 we expect it to upgrade to the ninth place. Our clients deserve the most ingenious and compelling campaigns that can be devised, and this acquisition will strengthen our ability to deliver them.”

Publicis Groupe is still smarting from the loss of its $3bn General Motors media business to Aegis-owned Carat. Levy says he is ‘disappointed’ but that Starcom’s loss of GM will only hit global revenues by 0.5 per cent.

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