Organic Growth Slows at Publicis

CHICAGO Publicis Groupe on Monday reported second quarter revenue of $1.1 billion, up 61 percent from a year ago.

The improved numbers stem mainly from the acquisition late last year of Bcom3, the Paris-based holding company said.

Organic growth, however, was stagnant for the first half of the year, with slight growth in North America and the Asia-Pacific region making up for a second quarter decline in Europe, Publicis said.

Revenue for the six months ended June 30 was $2.1 billion, an increase of 60 percent also improved by the Bcom3 acquisition.

The company, which owns agencies such as Publicis Worldwide, Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi, claimed slightly more than $1 billion in new business in the second quarter and $2.1 billion for the year’s first half.

Publicis CEO Maurice Levy confirmed that he expects to pay about 85 million pounds (slightly more than $135 million based on the current rate of exchange) for the 25 percent stake in Zenith Optimedia that it doesn’t already own, along with franchises of the media buying company. WPP Group acquired that Zenith option earlier this month when it bought Cordiant Communications Group, which held that 25 percent stake.

Levy also said that “assuming no exceptional upsets,” the company still expects to achieve its goal of a 15 percent operating margin in the year’s second half.

In accordance with French accounting practices, Publicis is expected to release its first-half income next month.

This story updates an item posted earlier today.