Publicis buys sustainability outfit Salterbaxter

Maurice Levy’s Publicis Groupe has bought sustainability consultancy Salterbaxter, which employs 70 people and works for a number of global clients including Adidas, BP (plenty of work there then), Lego and Thomson Reuters.

It will be rolled into PG’s MSL PR group (well it used to be a PR group) and be known as Salterbaxter MSLGROUP, which is hardly a branding triumph.

You can see these acquisitions as a sensible broadening of the holding companies’ offer outside advertising-related services or a rather desperate attempt to get into any market going. PG already employs about 150 people beavering away at ‘sustainability’ matters but says that Salterbaxter has skills it doesn’t (and, presumably, isn’t tarred with the advertising brush).

nigel326Salterbaxter CEO Nigel Salter (left) says: “The shifting global agenda has offered us opportunity to scale and accelerate our business. MSL Group’s important geographic and client footprint; its expertise in corporate affairs, digital and social, consumer communications, employee engagement and reputation management, and the company’s progressive approach will help us achieve that strategic expansion.”

Co-founder Penny Baxter says: “The combination offers us everything we were looking for to help us better serve the interests of our global client base as well as giving us an even better platform to fulfill the ambitions of our people.”

So it’s money to expand, by the sound of it. Which is fair enough. But you can’t help but wonder what whoever takes over from Maurice Levy (who’s stepping down as CEO next year) and, indeed, from Sir Martin Sorrell at WPP eventually, will make of these rambling collections of different companies.

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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.

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