NEWS: Publicis prepares to take on the world independently

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.

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.



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