Publicis has been hinting at making moves in the PR sector for some time, and late yesterday, they did. The agency’s PR holdings – including MS&L Worldwide, Publicis Consultants Worldwide, PublicisLive, Publicis Meetings, Emotion, Freud, and Kekst & Co – will be combined under MS&L and given the name MS&L Group.
The “global entity” will be run by Olivier Fleurot, previously chief executive of the PR and events division at Publicis and now CEO of MS&L Group. Olivier reports directly to Maurice Levy, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe. The new group employs more than 2,500 people in 50 countries.
The re-organization is taking place to better compete with other global agencies, wrote Advertising Age‘s Michael Bush. “Over the past few years in the U.S. market, MS&L, the flagship PR shop under the Publicis umbrella, has been viewed less and less as a serious threat in new-business pitches, especially on global accounts, by many of its larger competitors,” he said.
Bush specifically mentioned Weber Shandwick and Edelman as two main MS&L Group competitors. He also said that Levy once tried to buy this scale, in the form of acquiring Edelman, but the deal never went through. “…depending on who you speak to — [Levy] either had ‘serious conversations’ or made a ‘serious overture’ to Richard Edelman for his agency,” wrote Bush.
[Image: Olivier Fleurot, CEO of MS&L Group]