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Publicis Groupe to merge Digitas and LBi to form global digital behemoth

DigitasLBi will pool the global market leadership and cutting-edge skill-sets of the two agencies comprising 5,700 best-in-class digital and technology experts in 25 countries

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | February 5, 2013

Publicis Groupe has announced that it will merge Digitas and LBi, to form a fully integrated global digital agency network, with digital marketing and technology capabilities at the core. The new network, to be named DigitasLBi, will be led by LBi Chief Executive Luke Taylor, who has been appointed DigitasLBi’s Global CEO. It may be recalled that Publicis Groupe bought Digitas six years ago for $1.3 billion, while it acquired Amsterdam-based LBi for £333 million last September.

Highlighting Publicis Groupe’s leadership of the crucial, fast-moving digital sector, DigitasLBi will be the most complete digital agency network in the world, leveraging the longstanding dominance of Digitas in the USA – where it is the largest digital agency – together with LBi’s strong position in Europe and the leading position enjoyed by both agencies in Asia Pacific.

DigitasLBi will comprise 5,700 best-in-class digital and technology experts in 25 countries around the world. DigitasLBi clients include American Express, Coca-Cola, Delta, eBay, L’Oréal, Johnson & Johnson, Mondelez P&G, Nissan, Sprint and Starbucks.

Digitas and LBi share strong grounding in digital, including data, direct, social, search and platform delivery. Pooling these cutting-edge skillsets, DigitasLBi’s outstanding service offering will provide clients with unique depth and breadth of expertise across the widest range of digital disciplines, including strategy & analytics, performance marketing, service design, e-commerce, brand strategy, content development, mobile, market research, CRM, search and social media.

The new digital network’s ‘end-to-end’ proprietary technology suite will include LBi’s Audience Engagement Platform as well as Digitas’ CRM365 Intelligence Platform and award-winning BrandLIVE. The combination of these technologies and surrounding services will allow DigitasLBi to form a uniquely perceptive view of the customer and distribute creative content efficiently across earned, owned and paid media channels, driving marketing effectiveness and delivering better value to brands.

“Advertisers need a truly integrated and global digital network that can anticipate trends, forecast the ‘next’, while constantly innovating in our ever-changing world,” said Maurice Lévy, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe. “The combination of Digitas and LBi will create the world’s leading concentration of digital skills and competencies in the world, capable of delivering solutions to all clients, everywhere. I’m very happy that Luke will be managing this new global network. I’m sure that he will bring innovative vision and market-defining services to our clients, and this is and will always be our relentless focus.”

As Global CEO of DigitasLBi, Luke Taylor will report directly to Bob Lord, CEO of Publicis Groupe’s Digital

Technology Division. A team of senior LBi, Digitas and Publicis Groupe executives will oversee the merger process under the leadership of Stephan Beringer, CEO, Digitas and Razorfish International, ensuring flawless delivery of the newly enhanced service offering to clients in every geography.

Between them Digitas and LBi have a strong, shared heritage in digital that delivers strength and depth across all data, direct, social, search and platform delivery disciplines. Digitas has long been known for digitally-led, integrated brand ideas with roots in CRM and connected commerce. LBi meanwhile has a historic strength in service innovation and multi-channel delivery and, following its acquisition of bigmouthmedia in 2010 and MRY in 2011, is able to leverage a breadth of search and social expertise alongside its creative, technology and user experience skillsets. In 2012 LBi and Digitas received a combined total of over 200 awards globally. Specifically, Digitas won two Cannes Lions Grand Prix last year, whilst LBi secured the SXSW People’s Choice Award. Digitas was also recently named OMMA Agency of the Year 2012 and LBi UK Digital Agency of the Year 2012 by Marketing magazine.

“DigitasLBi represents the first time that insight, content and distribution has been brought together in one agency, providing clients with a truly integrated, best-in-class, global offering,” said Luke Taylor, Chief Executive of DigitasLBi. “I’m thrilled to have been appointed to oversee the genesis and strategic evolution of DigitasLBi and harness the unique opportunity to leverage an unparalleled breadth of geographies, services and proprietary technologies to pace set the markets.”

Sitting alongside sister Publicis Groupe digital brands Razorfish and Rosetta, DigitasLBi cements Publicis Groupe’s ambitions in this critical area for its clients and the future of the communications sector. Publicis Groupe’s share of revenue derived from digital operations is now over 35 per cent, enhancing its ability to deliver innovative and best-in-class services to clients.

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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