France-based marketing network Publicis Groupe has agreed to purchase digital marketing agency LBi in a deal valued at 416m euros (£332.5m) in a move to further boost its digital revenues.
The deal was announced in a joint statement revealing that Publicis Groupe intends to pay LBi 2.85 Euros per share in cash with LBi’s board recommending the deal to its shareholders.
“The proposed acquisition of LBi will enable Publicis Groupe to increase its share of revenue derived from digital operations to over 35%, in line with its strategic goals, and to capitalise on the complementary with its existing global digital businesses,” read statement announcing the deal.
Publicis’ purchase of LBi ends speculation that Omnicom and WPP were to purchase the agency and means the digital specialist will sit alongside the group’s pure-play digital agencies: Digitas, Razorfish and Rosetta.
In the first half of 2012, LBi reported net revenue of EUR119.4m (£95.3m), up 18.2% from the equivalent period in 2011 on an organic basis, and an adjusted EBITDA of EUR19.9m (£15.8) implying a margin of 16.7%.
The agency was also ranked no.2 in terms of digital income in the most recent new media age Top 100 reporting annual earnings in excess of £57m, see table below, with clients including BA, Microsoft and Lloyds TSB.
The deal also rounds a host of acquisitions of formerly independent digital agencies being acquired by larger agency networks with WPP recently paying $544m for AKQA, the agency formerly known as Fortune Cookie selling to WPP-outfit Possible Worldwide and ISpy selling to Aegis Media’s iProspect (nma.co.uk 2 Aug 2012).
More to follow…