Publicis Groupe to boost UK services with London ad firm

Oliver Smith
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PUBLICIS Groupe, the French advertising giant, bought London-based digital creative agency Poke yesterday for an undisclosed sum.

Publicis worldwide executive chairman, Jean-Yves Naouri, said the acquisition would help boost the group’s UK services.

“This acquisition will further strengthen our Publicis UK offering by adding a new level of digital expertise, creativity and innovation to the Publicis UK group of agencies.”

Poke was founded in 2001 by Nicolas Roope, Nick Farnhill, Tom Hostler and Peter Beech. They set up Poke as a joint venture with east London ad agency Mother London, which owns a 50 per cent stake.

“We’ve had very successful and rewarding working relationships with Publicis Conseil in France and Publicis Chemistry in the UK for some time working across Orange and EE and the new partnership is simply a natural and positive evolution of these relationships,” said Poke founding partner and chief executive Nick Farnhill.

Poke opened a New York office in 2007, however Poke New York will not be acquired by Publicis as the New York founders completed a management buyout of the office yesterday.

Ingenious Corporate Finance advised Mother Holdings and the founding shareholders of Poke London on the sale of the business.

The sale was made for an undisclosed sum.



INGENIOUS Corporate Finance has a long history of working on mergers and acquisitions in the media, entertainment, technology and communications sectors.

It has advised on technology and marketing deals including’s £120m merger with Photobox in 2011,’s sale to Moneysupermarket for £87m in 2012 and Shed Media’s £120m deal to be taken private by Warner Bros in 2010.

Alex Cartwright, who advised Poke and Mother London on the Publicis Groupe deal, has worked at Ingenious since 2004 and has a client list that includes Moonpig, Channel 4 and Engine.

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