Publicis Buys Outside Line Agency, Integrates Into Saatchi

Maurice-Levy-A4Publicis has confirmed that it has purchased UK-based digital shop Outside Line, a specialist in social media and experiential marketing. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy said that the agency holding company would continue to bulk up on digital assets to make its offering as robust as possible.

For Publicis it was the second digital agency acquisition in as many weeks.

Last week, it confirmed buying iStrat, the India-based digital shop. The company’s deal to acquire Amsterdam-based LBi is expected to close next month.

Publicis said Outside Line would be integrated into Saatchi & Saatchi, one of the holding company’s global agency networks.

Outside Line was founded in 2000 and is based in London. Its offering includes digital design, content creation, customer relations management and experience-driven social media marketing. Clients include British Gas, Virgin Galactic and the tennis star Andy Murray.

Publicis said that Outside Line cofounders Ant Cauchi and Lloyd Salmons would remain with the agency and would take on additional senior roles as digital directors at Saatchi & Saatchi London.

Publicis and holding company rival WPP have been engaged in a digital arms race this year, gobbling up large and small digital shops around the world. While Publicis was negotiating to buy LBi, WPP purchased San Francisco-based AKQA. Both agencies are valued at more than $500 million and were considered two of the last major independent digital shops available for consolidation.

This year, AKQA has opened four new offices, including Tokyo, Paris, Atlanta and Portland. Additional expansion is planned for next year.



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