Stuck In A Holding Pattern

The New York Times: The Publicis Groupe has approached a competitor, the Aegis Group, to discuss a possible takeover bid valued at around £1.56 billion, or about $2.8 billion, people close to the companies said yesterday.
One person cautioned that the talks between the two advertising companies were preliminary, but a takeover would accelerate the consolidation of the ad industry into a handful of global players.
It could turn Publicis, based in Paris, into a formidable rival to the three biggest advertising companies: the Omnicom Group and the Interpublic Group of Companies, both based in New York, and the WPP Group, which, like Aegis, is based in London. A combination with Aegis, which specializes in planning and buying ad space and broadcast commercial time, would make Publicis the global leader in media services, several analysts said. Publicis already owns media agencies like the Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia.
Aegis, which owns the Carat and Vizeum media agencies and an Internet agency named Isobar, said that it had received an “approach at an indicative level of 140 pence per Aegis share.”
Aegis has been seen as a potential takeover target for some time, given that it is one of the last independent players of significant size left in the advertising industry. Its areas of expertise, which also include market research, are in demand at a time when marketers are seeking to spend their ad budgets more efficiently, particularly as ads in traditional media like TV and newspapers are not always as effective as they once were in reaching consumers.
Until this week, most speculation about a possible bid for Aegis had centered on another French company, Havas, which owns the Euro RSCG advertising agency as well an Aegis competitor, MPG. As a company smaller than Publicis, Omnicom and the rest, Havas, based in Suresnes, France, has been under pressure to grow or to find a partner.
“A tie-up between Aegis and Publicis would put Havas even more on the spot in media buying and planning than it is today,” Nicolas Gindre, an analyst at Kepler Equities in Paris, said in a note to clients.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.