Publicis Groupe To Form New Media Network

Publicis Groupe confirmed Thursday that it has acquired a little more than 75% of media agency Walker Media from M&C Saatchi. Saatchi will retain 24.9% of the agency.

Terms were not disclosed, but the shop is valued at about $75 million, according to the Financial Times.

Under the terms of the agreement, Walker -- which operates in the UK -- will become part of the ZenithOptimedia Group.  Walker will remain a separate agency in the UK and be the “cornerstone” for what Publicis said would be a new media network that will sit within ZOG.

The idea is to use ZO’s global scale to help Walker better serve clients that need planning and buying services outside the UK. The new network will be launched in 2014. It will be led by Walker chairman Phil Georgiadis.

A new board will be established for Walker that will be comprised of Georgiadis; Walker CEO Simon Davis; ZO global CEO Steve King; ZO global COO Adrian Sayliss; M&C Saatchi CEO David Kershaw, and Saatchi Group Finance Director Jamie Hewitt.



“Walker Media is the biggest and most successful independent media agency in the UK,” said King. “The agency was built and developed on the principle of client centricity and its success is a testament to this.”

Georgiadis said that he and Walker co-founder Davis “feel the time is right to expand our offering globally while keeping our core proposition intact and we identified [ZO] as an organization that could support that vision brilliantly.”

Saatchi’s Kershaw said: “This new network will be of great value to our worldwide client base. Walker Media will benefit from the geographic reach and scale opportunities within [ZO] and Publicis Groupe while importantly retaining the spirit of the Walker Media brand.”

Earlier, Publicis had confirmed it was in talks with Saatchi about acquiring a majority stake in Walker, which was founded in 1998 with M&C Saatchi as a partner. Walker clients include Marks & Spenser, Boots and KFC.

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