Ad agency BBH bought out by Publicis

French advertising monolith Publicis Groupe has bought out the portion of rival Bartle Bogle Hegarty that it does not already own. C'est un coup d'etat!

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

Publicis, announced plans this morning to acquire the 51% stake in BBH that it does not already own, in a deal which will also snap up Brazilian agency Neogama/BBH, of which BBH already owned a third. Unfortunately for industry analysts, terms of the deal were not disclosed and so we do not have a clue as to the price. If you fancy having a guess, BBH had revenues of €112m in 2011, and employs more than 1,000 people around the world. You do the math.  

John Bartle, Nigel Bogle and John Hegarty founded the legendary agency in the '80s, those heady days of (allegedly) white-hootered, chrome-suited, red-braces-sporting ad men marauding around the West End in really very nice cars. Over the decades it has created campaigns for Audi, British Airways and Levi Strauss Jeans, and recently even for internet search giant, Google.
 
The iconic days of smarmy advertising executives may have been consigned to the history books with Lionsgate's Mad Men TV series, but there remain massive fortunes to be made, especially in the emerging markets. Speculators point
to the Brazilian element of this particular acquisition as evidence that Publicis is looking for explosive growth, which cannot be found in the western economies - sputtering and stuttering their way through double-dip recessions. One of BBH's taglines in the old days was 'When the world zigs, zag,' for Levi jeans. It seems Publicis are trying to do just that.
 
Neogama/BBH is not the only Brazilian agency that Publicis has acquired, either. It also bought DPZ just months ago, and reports say it has around €500m set aside for an acquisition spree this year. So it may only just be getting started.
 
But with this latest acquisition under its belt - it now owns 100% of BBH - Publicis could be set to rival Sir Martin Sorrell's WPP in the race to sweep up firms in emerging markets. Wide-rimmed specs and flashy ties could soon be all the rage in Sao Paolo.

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