Publicis Groupe completes $50mn acquisition of Soft Computing

By Bobby Clevenger

The Publicis Groupe, a leading multinational advertising and public relations firm headquartered in Paris, France, has announced the completion of its purchase of 82.99% of the share capital of Soft Computing, a leading French data marketing company. Acquiring the controlling share in Soft Computing at US$28.35 per share for a total consideration of approximately $50mn.

The price of Soft Computing’s shares represents a 66.67% premium with respect to the closing price on December 19, 2018.

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The oldest public relations company in the world, the Publicis Groupe will use the acquisition to reinforce its data marketing expertise across the entire value chain in France, further consolidating its position as preferred partner for its clients’ transformation.

The acquisition comes at a difficult time for Publicis, according to an AdWeek report, which noted that Shares of Publicis in the U.S. fell more than 7 percent on Wednesday after the holding company reported fourth-quarter organic revenue fell 0.3 percent, compared to analyst expectations of a 2.5 percent growth.

Publicis CEO and chairman Arthur Sadoun told Adweek in the report that the company’s data driven approach was the key to returning the company to stability. “When you look at our model that combines data, dynamic creativity and technology, we have been winning in 2018 like never before.”

In an interview with Campaign released this week, Sadoun reflected on the company’s acquisitions policy. “We are not interested in acquisitions for the sake of size. The race for size is over; we are now in a race for transformation. We have the winning model connecting data, dynamic creativity and technology. These three game-changers are growing today at 30% and are at the core of all of our new-business success. So, to be clear, the faster we scale our expertise, the faster we transform Publicis. That being said, we don’t reject acquisitions per se; we are disciplined, selective and acquire mostly bolt-on or operations where we lack critical mass.”

Created in 1984 by Eric Fischmeister and Gilles Venturi, Soft Computing specializes in data and its use in enhancing marketing and transforming the customer experience. With over 400 experts, this market-leading company provides its services to most of the major retail, finance and services companies.


 

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