Publicis Acquires Rosetta, Gains Digital Savoir-Faire
Rosetta, a 1,100-person organization with clients such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Hewlett-Packard, Johnson & Johnson, Marriott and T-Mobile, will remain an autonomous operating unit within Publicis, and will continue to be led by founder & CEO Chris Kuenne.
Publicis said Kuenne will join Publicis' Strategic Leadership Team, but did not explain how Rosetta would relate to Publicis' existing digital organizational structure, or whether it would formally become part of VivaKi, the digital and media services holding unit within Publicis that oversees units such as Digitas, Razorfish, Publicis Modem, Starcom MediaVest Group and Zenith Optimedia Media Group.
Publics has scheduled a call for later this morning to brief analyst and media on the acquisition, but in a statement, CEO Maurice Levy implied that Rosetta was more than a digital billings roll-up, and represents a distinct and differentiated offering. He described it as a unique "savoir-faire," which is based more on a consultative approach to digital marketing services.
The deal, however, will likely set off a new round of digital bragging rights between Publicis and its chief rival, WPP Group.
Founded in 1998, Rosetta operates from nine offices in North America, and is projected to have revenues of $250 million in 2011. Upon completing the acquisition, Publicis said more than 30% of its total revenues would be based on digital and interactive marketing services.
Publicis said it will pay $575 million in cash, plus deferred payments based on the agency's performance.