Herrick added, "What we will do over time is expand the vertical consulting presence within Publicis.Sapient in order to cross-pollinate, in order to feed the other pieces of Publicis.Sapient and have deep expertise in vertical segments in which we operate to help clients construct solutions to take advantage of opportunities. You'll see us both deepen as well as expand the types of consulting we do."
The boards of both companies have already approved the deal, which takes a major independent agency player off the market. Sapient employs about 13,000, and its 2013 gross revenues were $1.3 billion. Net profits were about $77 million. As of 2013, about 70% of its business came from its digital agency, SapientNitro. Another 25% was sourced to Sapient Global Markets, serving the capital and commodity market needs of clients in the financial and energy industries. The remaining 5% is in government, where it has built experiences for the Library of Congress, National Cathedral and others.
The company is often most directly compared with Razorfish, which has made big investments in "commerce everywhere." Razorfish has lately struggled with client losses however -- losing part or all of Microsoft, Blackberry, State Farm and Samsung in the last six months. In the wake of the bad news, Razorfish CEO Pete Stein has been expected to step down. And Publicis recently announced plans to merge Razorfish with Rosetta and Nurun, and place Rosetta CEO Tom Adamski at the helm of the new organization. On a call with press, Levy affirmed the Razorfish Global structure will go forward, and insisted Tom
With the new acquisition, it would seem Razorfish is no longer the apple of Levy's eye.
“Sapient is a ‘crown jewel,’ a one of a kind company born in the technology space with strengths in marketing, communications, consulting and omni-channel commerce, all of which are equally important to best help clients achieve their digital transformation," Levy said in a statement this morning. "It will also give Publicis Groupe access to new markets and creating new revenue streams. This acquisition fulfills many of Publicis Groupe’s objectives: we will enhance our leadership position in digital, achieve our goal of deriving 50% of our revenues from digital and technology three years ahead of our 2018 plan, and leverage technology, consulting capabilities to expand in new verticals, and offering new and exciting opportunities to our talents.”
SapientNitro's biggest clients have included Unilever, Vail Resorts, and Queensland Tourism.
Publicis is putting the pedal down on technology, having acquired programmatic platform company RUN for an undisclosed sum and taken a 20% position in performance marketing company Matomy Media.