Publicis is poised to make a go-it-alone attempt to transform itself
from a European to a global network, without the help of its powerful US
partner, True North Communications.
With no sign of an early reconciliation between the two companies after
last year’s public falling-out, they formally ended their worldwide
alliance last week, leaving each one free to buy other agencies or
create new ones wherever they choose.
Talks are continuing between Publicis and True North - the Foote Cone
Belding holding company - aimed at establishing a new relationship to
replace the one terminated last Thursday.
Meanwhile, the status quo prevails, with Publicis continuing to work for
FCB clients in Europe and FCB reciprocating in Latin America and the
Asia Pacific region.
Maurice Levy, the Publicis group chairman, who was in London last week
to address a French Chamber of Commerce lunch, said: ‘We’re in a very
strong position because we can offer our clients a first-class worldwide
service. But if we want to expand our network globally, particularly in
the US, we can do it on our own.’
Speculation has been rife for some time that Publicis, Europe’s second-
largest network, would like to form a closer association with M&C
Saatchi, with which it teamed up to capture the pounds 60 million
British Airways global account last year.
But Levy insisted there were no plans for a formal alliance with Maurice
Saatchi’s agency beyond the BA deal. Industry sources believe the
Publicis chief is waiting to see if BA renews its 12-month contract with
M&C Saatchi in May before deciding his next move.