Publicis Groupe Merges Digitas and LBi

Super-shop, called DigitasLBi, has global aims

Publicis Groupe is merging Digitas and LBi to create what it’s calling a “fully integrated global digital agency network,” the holding company announced today. Dubbed DigitasLBi, it will be led by LBi’s chief exec Luke Taylor, named global CEO, who will report to Bob Lord, CEO of Publicis Groupe’s digital technology division.

The newly created digital super-shop will have some 5,700 staffers as it looks to connect interactive business across continents. Digitas, a $1.3 billion purchase by Publicis in late 2006, entails U.S. accounts like American Express, Taco Bell, Procter & Gamble, Buick and Puma. LBi, which Publicis bought for $540 million less than five months ago, has a notable foothold in Europe, where the Amsterdam-based firm counts Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Volvo and Ikea as major clients. Together, the holding company suggested in a statement that DigitasLBi could also grow its presence in Asia.

“The formation of DigitasLBi is an essential landmark,” said Maurice Lévy, chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe. “It will certainly be the most competitive, attractive network in the market for both clients and talent.”

A team of senior LBi, Digitas and Publicis Groupe executives will oversee the merger under the leadership of Stephan Beringer, CEO, Digitas and Razorfish International.