Publicis approved to acquire Sapient

After months of regulatory hurdles, the $3.7 billion deal is expected to be finalized by the end of the week.
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Publicis Groupe has announced it received all regulatory approvals required for its acquisition of Sapient that was first announced in November.

The $3.7 billion deal is expected to be finalized at 11:59 p.m. EST tonight, the most recent deadline for the offer’s approval, pending the satisfaction of all the conditions of the deal. At the time the last deadline was extended, Publicis said it had acquired over 80% of outstanding Sapient shares, well above the 50% majority required for the acquisition to go through.

While Publicis had acquired the majority of shares and the deal had been approved by the boards of both companies at the time it was initially announced, it had been frequently delayed. Deadlines for the deal have been extended on four occasions as Publicis worked to meet stricter approval guidelines required of a foreign company seeking control of one that handles work for the U.S. government, as Sapient does.

Publicis has said its main stake in pursuing this deal is bolstering its range of technological and digital offers that Sapient is known for (as well as its business – the acquisition brings Publicis Groupe’s digital revenue above the 50% goal it set for itself three years early). As part of the acquisition, Publicis will create an innovation platform called Publicis.Sapient which is “focused exclusively on digital transformation at the convergence of communication, marketing, commerce and technology.” The platform will be run by Sapient and led by CEO and co-chairman Alan Herrick, drawing from all of Sapient’s divisions as well as Publicis’ own digital-focused agencies, like Razorfish and DigitasLBi.

Jerry Greenberg, co-founder and co-chairman of Sapient, will be joining the Publicis supervisory board.

The acquisition will be finalized just days before the nine-month anniversary of the termination of the planned merger between Publicis and Omnicom.

The Boston-based Sapient employs 13,000 people in 37 branches across the globe, including one in Toronto. It operates the tech- and digital-focused integrated agency SapientNitro, commodity-focused service provider Sapient Global Markets and Sapient Government Services.

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