Publicis to Acquire Bcom3

CHICAGO–Publicis Groupe has agreed to acquire advertising agency holding company, Bcom3 Group, in a stock and securities deal valued at $3 billion. The deal will make the Paris-based company the world’s fourth-largest holding company with $4.6 billion in revenue.

As part of the deal, Japan’s Dentsu Inc., which owns just over 22 percent of Bcom3, will take a 15 percent share in Publicis.

“This is a three-way alliance of global vision and complementary strengths that will deliver significant value to our clients,” said Maurice Levy, chairman and chief executive officer of Publicis, in a statement. “Our focus has always been to be the best partner for our clients. Today that means providing companies with high-quality, global campaigns tailored for local markets with economies of scale and a full-range of marketing, research and media services.”

Roger Haupt, CEO of Bcom3, will become Publicis’ president and chief operating officer, and will become a member of the board. Levy will continue as chairman and chief executive officer.

Bcom3 Group, formed in March 2000 after the merger of the Leo Group and the MacManus Group, is the parent company of advertising agencies Leo Burnett Worldwide, D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and media company Starcom MediaVest Group. Publicis is the parent company of advertising agencies Fallon Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi and media company Zenith Optimedia Group.

Speculation about a Bcom3 sale had been swirling since last year, when the agency postponed an expected public offering due to market conditions.