Publicis Groupe in Talks to Acquire Walker Media Stake

Deal with M&C Saatchi unit not done yet

Publicis Groupe confirmed it is in discussions with M&C Saatchi about purchasing a “significant” stake in the company’s Walker Media unit. London-based Walker Media works in the U.K. for clients like Boots, Marks & Spencer, The Independent, Fox TV, Viking River Cruises, Taco Bell and Weetabix.

The purchase price has been reported at $56 million.

Publicis said, however, “There can be no certainty that an agreement will be reached and a further announcement will be made in due course.”

According to Campaign, which originally published reports of the deal, M&C Saatchi will retain just under 25 percent in a transaction that values Walker Media at $74 million. M&C Saatchi was originally a joint-venture partner in the 1998 launch of Walker Media and later increased its stake beyond that share.

Walker Media was co-founded by Christine Walker, a former CEO of Zenith, which is now part of Publicis Groupe’s ZenithOptimedia media network. According to Campaign's speculation, Walker will become a third international agency within ZenithOptimedia, alongside Zenith and Optimedia. But it will remain a separate entity in the U.K. Rationale for the deal is thought to be growing the company’s business internationally beyond its U.K. client base in a bid for global clients.