Publicis Groupe Acquires Salterbaxter

Another day, another agency added to the Publicis Groupe roster. In the past two weeks, the holding company unveiled a new specialty agency called Roar and acquired e-commerce shop Crown Partners.

Now, Publicis Groupe is buying UK-based Salterbaxter, an agency specializing in corporate responsibility, transparency, and sustainability. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Salterbaxter will be aligned to Publicis Groupe’s strategic communications organization, MSLGROUP, and form a core part of MSLGROUP’s global Corporate & Brand Citizenship Practice. 

The agency will operate under the name ‘Salterbaxter MSLGROUP’, and will retain its existing management team with Nigel Salter as CEO and Penny Baxter as managing director. Nigel will also become the EMEA head for MSLGROUP’s Corporate and Brand Citizenship Practice, working with Scott Beaudoin, global leader of the global Corporate & Brand Citizenship Practice.

This deal was struck for several reasons. For one, it underlines the importance that MSLGROUP places on sustainability and citizenship as a key concern for businesses today. Secondly, the combined agency broadens the service offering available to clients. "The agenda is also no longer a silo either on the client or the service provider side," says Salter. "In order to affect change across businesses, companies need service providers to join up strategic insight, proper sustainability and citizenship knowledge and powerful engagement and communications capabilities -- they really are seeing that buying these services separately is no longer effective.”

Also, size matters, said Salter. "The role of business in society is being re-thought at pace and at scale. Corporations and brands are increasingly seeing that in order to address the sustainability and citizenship agenda, they need to think more fundamentally across their whole operations and strategies -- they are now needing to think bigger and they need bigger organizations with wider experiences and a wide geographic view to help them do this.”

In addition, "companies and brands are less and less in need of technical input or theory in this field," says Salter. "They want to know how to execute against the agenda, how to inspire their employees, how to activate their ideas.”

Salterbaxter will maintain its London HQ, but will connect and collaborate with MSLGROUP offices worldwide. The 70+ agency has clients that include Adidas, Anglo American, BP, BSkyB, LEGO, Maersk and Thomson Reuters.

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