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French Advertising Group Publicis to Acquire Sapient Corp

Date:03-11-2014

Publicis Groupe SA, the French advertising giant has agreed to buy Sapient Corp., as Publicis Groupe attempts to accelerate its move into digital technology.

According to sources Publicis' bid comes after a failed merger attempt with Omnicom Group. The third-largest ad company, Publicis Groupe SA has blamed its recent slowdown in growth in part on the distraction caused by the merger, which was cancelled amidst internal power struggles.

The news of the deal to buy U.S.-based company, which is one of the last big independent digital agencies, comes at a time when Publicis is struggling to bolster growth from new forms of advertising increasingly dominated by technology and data. The French ad company is also under pressure to find a way to better negotiate with Web giants such as Google and Facebook Inc.

CEO of Publicis, Maurice Levy said that Sapient is a one-of-a-kind company born in the technology space with strengths in omni-channel commerce, marketing, communications and consulting. This deal will see the U.S-based firm become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Publicis Groupe.

Both the companies said that stockholders of Sapient will receive $25 in cash for each share they own. The price represents a 44 percent increase over Sapient’s Oct. 31 close in New York. Publicis Groupe and Sapient Corp have approved the offer and Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sapient, Alan J. Herrick will be Publicis.Sapient’s future chief executive officer.

Sapient, which also owns a leading digital advertising agency, SapientNitro, would push the French ad company further into online activities. The company reported 2013 EBITDA of $160.3 million on sales of $1.31 billion.

The France ad company plans to finance the purchase with debt and cash, without selling shares. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2015, and this deal will generate annual cost synergies of 50 million euros.

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