Publicis Groupe merges Digitas with LBi to create global digital super-agency

Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy (left) is busily tidying up his digital agency assets after splashing out $540m on digital agency network LBi last year.

PG is creating a new global super-network called Digitas LBi combining LBi (which is strongest outside America) with Digitas which is massive in the States. LBi’s Luke Taylor will be CEO of the new entity which will employ 5,700 people in 25 countries.

In the UK Kitcatt Nohr Digitas (PG bought Kitcatt Nohr) last year will stay as an independent brand (for now anyway). CEO Marc Nohr says: “While on a global level this presents many exciting opportunities and is very positive, here in the UK at Kitcatt Nohr Digitas there are no planned changes and we will continue to operate business as usual. There will be no disruption to the management of our much valued client projects.”

PG’s other big US-based digital businesses, Razorfish and Rosetta appear to be remaining as is (quasi-independent) but further rationalisation of PG’s sprawling (and expensively acquired) digital assets must be on the cards. It also owns the Big Fuel social media agency.

Digitas LBi CEO Taylor will report to Bob Lord, the chief executive of Publicis Groupe’s Digital Technology Division. The merger process will be overseen by a team led by Stephen Beringer, the chief executive of Digitas and Razorfish International (possibly leading to more confusion, there certainly seem to be a lot of bosses involved in this process).

Levy says Digitas LBi will be “the largest, most complete concentration of digital skills and competencies in the world.”

Which it might be be but the real job for PG and its holding company rivals is to create strong brands in the digital world, its equivalent of BBDO and Wieden+Kennedy.

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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.