Publicis in deal to snap up Dutch ad firm

City A.M. Reporter
FRENCH advertising agency Publicis has agreed to buy Dutch agency LBi International in a deal valuing the company at €416m (£332m), the group’s latest move to boost its exposure to digital advertising.

The €2.85 per share offer in cash, which LBi’s board has accepted, is at a 7.5 per cent premium to the ad agency’s closing share price calculated yesterday.

The deal – which was advised on by Jefferies and UBS – is the latest in a flurry of M&A activity among ad agencies as the larger groups buy up the few remaining faster growing digitally-focused smaller shops.

“The acquisition of LBi is another step forward in further strengthening our digital operations,” Publicis chief executive Maurice Lévy said.

Publicis’s existing digital units include Digitas, Razorfish and Rosetta.

Martin Sorrell’s advertising giant WPP bought award-winning digital agency AKQA in June to tap into its success across social media.

In a larger deal, Japanese ad giant Dentsu agreed to buy marketing group Aegis in July.

LBi, whose shares are up 52 per cent so far this year, had announced in June that it was in preliminary talks with potential buyers. The firm is based and listed in Amsterdam.