Publicis Buys Net@lk, Enhances Digital Leadership In China

Publicis Groupe has bought Net@lk, a social-media services provider in China. The terms were not disclosed, but the deal is part of a massive $4 billion commitment to acquisitions that the company pledged to make over the next five years.

Net@lk is comprised of four divisions, including the namesake social agency and a sister shop Simone. In addition, the company owns social content producer Lenx and monitoring, research and analytics firm Buzzreader.

Those units will be aligned with different Publicis Groupe agencies. Net@lk and Lenx will be tied to DigitasLBi. Simone will be merged with the social-media operation at Razorfish, and Buzzreader will be aligned with VivaKi.

Publicis said that Net@lk CEO Lamy Zang will lead the newly merged DigitasLBi Net@lk operation, reporting to Roy Capon, CEO of DigitasLBi APAC.

“The Net@lk acquisition is another realization of the Publicis Groupe strategy for digital leadership in China,” stated Jean-Yves Naouri, COO Publicis Groupe.

It was at the company’s Investor Day in April that Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy revealed plans to spend $4 billion over the next five years on acquisitions focused on rapidly growing markets like China, India and Brazil.

Not that the company has been a laggard in the acquisition space. It spent roughly $1 billion last year alone to buy digital shops LBi and Rokkan. The prior year, it spent nearly $600 million to acquire Rosetta.

The acquisition strategy going forward is designed to help the company reach its stated target of having 75% of the company’s revenue come from digital and rapidly growing markets by 2018.

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