Publicis Groupe boss Maurice Levy (left) has finally pulled of the transformational deal he’s been looking for with a successful $3.7bn bid for tech-cum-agency company Sapient. Sapient Corp, the owner of digital ad agency Sapient Nitro, was valued on Wall Street at $2.4bn although the shares have risen strongly in recent days.
In the summer Publicis Groupe and Omnicom aborted their $35bn merger. Publicis has since been linked with a $2bn bid for online cmedia company Criteo.
Sapient began as a website company back in 1990 in Cambridge Massachusetts. It then morphed into a digital consultancy and acquired ad agency Nitro Group in 2009 for $50m, creating arguably the most tech-based agency in the ad market. Last year Sapient Nitro made it to the last two in the protracted UK British Airways pitch, losing out finally to the incumbent BBH (also owned by Publicis).
It looks as though Publicis is to buy all the Sapient businesses, moving it closer towards Levy’s stated ambition of becoming ‘an internet company.’ Sapient is the biggest of a long list of Publicis digital acquisitions including Digitas, Razorfish, LBi and Rosetta. All these have since been absorbed into PG’s VivaKi digital media operation.