Dentsu boss Andree hints at more big deals

Dentsu boss Tim Andree (left) (non-Japanese Dentsu boss to be strictly accurate) has been sharing some intriguing thoughts about further global consolidation in the ad business, saying that Dentsu would be the ‘acquirer of choice’ for anyone wishing to sell although it’s not involved in a deal at the moment and maybe it’s big enough as it is.

Dentsu is certainly much bigger following its acquisition of media buyer Aegis but still only the fifth-largest marcoms company worldwide (it will move up to four behind Interpublic if and when Omnicom and Publicis Groupe merge).

It claims to be the biggest in Asia and the second-largest in Europe (can’t see how that works) but, of course, most of its Western business is Aegis and that doesn’t include creative advertising. So it’s a bit lop-sided.

Therefore a deal with Havas (which we’ve suggested may be on the cards) would help although not that much in the US. A deal with IPG would create a PubliCom-sized monster that was strong in the US too but IPG Michael Roth says he doesn’t need one and could Dentsu afford IPG anyway?

Andree may just be sending a reminder that, post-Aegis, Dentsu is still in the game. But it’s worth remembering that, at one time, it owned a minority stake in Maurice Levy’s Publicis Group which it eventually sold for £535m in 2012.

Havas owner Vincent Bollore says he wants to stay independent too but he may be tempted by the kind of minority stake/alliance that Dentsu tried (and failed) to make work with Levy. That would also keep a certain wolf called Sir Martin Sorrell from the door.

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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.