PUBLICIS Group will buy a 75.1 per cent stake in M&C Saatchi’s Walker Media as part of a £36m cash deal, as the advertising giant awaits the European Union’s approval for its merger with Omnicom to create the world’s largest ad agency.
The deal will place Walker Media under Publicis’ ZenithOptimedia media buying group. M&C Saatchi said that the majority of the proceeds would be returned to shareholders.
“Walker Media is the biggest and most successful independent media agency in the UK and we are absolutely delighted to welcome them to the ZenithOptimedia family,” said ZenithOptimedia chief executive Steve King.
Walker Media made £5.2m in operating profits last year, but has found it difficult to compete in an increasingly tough market focused on size and scale.
M&C Saatchi chief executive David Kershaw said, “Walker Media will benefit from the geographic reach and scale opportunities within ZenithOptimedia and Publicis.” M&C Saatchi’s shares rose 3.1 per cent yesterday to 334.5p.