Publicis/Sapient Deal Postponed…Again

By Patrick Coffee 

The acquisition of the Sapient organization by Publicis Groupe, which first made headlines back in November, has hit yet another rough patch.

According to this morning’s press release from Paris, the $3.7 billion offer will now expire at noon, EST on February 5th “unless it is further extended.” Hardly definitive.

Publicis has given no particular reason for this latest delay; the previous stall was attributed to complications stemming from Sapient’s relationships with United States government entities and the added scrutiny that comes with such deals.


Publicis’ own shareholders may well be part of the holdup as the Groupe agreed to pay 150 percent of Sapient’s current market value per share despite the fact that analysts at the time said the deal would add “little” to the overall value of the organization.

Sources within Sapient weren’t so fond of the idea, either: a reader told us in November that many employees were “taken aback” by a deal that seemed to directly contradict Sapient’s desire to be “the anti-holding company.”

Two major staffing changes are now on hold as well: Sapient CEO/Co-Chairman Alan J. Herrick would be CEO of the new Sapient.Publicis organization and Chairman/Co-Founder Jerry A. Greenberg would ascend to a spot on the Groupe’s advisory board.

No word on the odds of this deal going the way of Publicis/Omnicom. We’ll find out next month.