Publicis Buys Italian I-Shops

BOSTON Publicis Groupe continues to shore up its global agency network, making two acquisitions in Italy to bolster its digital and healthcare practices just one day after a strategic reorganization in Japan.

The Paris-based holding company said it has acquired Healthware SpA in Salerno, a 50-person healthcare shop that creates CRM, search marketing and related programs, and Multimedia Healthcare Communication in Milan, a public relations agency. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The shops work for clients such as Procter & Gamble, AstraZeneca and Sanofi-Aventis.

The buys boost staffing at PHCG in Italy to 90.

As with Publicis’ other recent buys worldwide, local management at the two Italian shops will remain in place, in this case reporting to Leonardo Vinci, president of PHCG Italy.

“Healthware and Multimedia are both very synergistic acquisitions for PHCG” that enhance Publicis’ presence in the market across an array of media, said Nick Colucci, CEO of PHCG.

Yesterday, Publicis said it strengthened its position in Japan by consolidating most of its market holdings (which had operated under the aegis of Publicis Japan) into Beacon Communications, a joint venture with its longtime strategic partner Dentsu. The move, according to the company, allows Publicis to offer clients a broader range of services. As part of the move, Fallon’s Tokyo absorbed the L’Oreal business and PR shop MS&L Japan will be spun off as a separate entity.

Publicis has spent much of the year making acquisitions, investments and strategic moves since closing in January on its purchase of Boston i-shop Digitas.

Many of the buys have been in the digital space, including two Paris-based agency acquisitions in September: Wcube and Phonevalley. In June, Publicis added French digital shop Business Interactif, followed by Chinese interactive firm CCG in July.

The strategy is in keeping with its global rivals. Several have made high-profile acquisitions in the ever-expanding digital sector, such as WPP Group’s deal to buy 24/7 Real Media.

Publicis has also made investments in the European media-buying and U.S. medical-marketing spheres.