Maurice-Levy-led Publicis Groupe has acquired an additional 51 per cent stake in BBH, taking complete control of the ad agency. The Paris-headquartered Publicis had acquired 49 per cent stake in BBH from its founders, Nigel Bogle and John Hegarty, 10 years earlier.
The new deal includes a 100 per cent stake in Brazil-based agency NEOGAMA/BBH, in which BBH had a 34 per cent stake, while Alexandre Gama and his partners accounted for the remaining 66 per cent. Publicis did not specify the deal size of the two acquisitions.
Publicis has been acquiring various businesses in the last few years, especially in emerging markets such as India. Now, BBH operations in India would also be controlled by the Publicis Groupe. The BBH team here includes veteran admen Subhash Kamath and Partha Sinha, both managing partners.
Speaking to Business Standard, Kamath said following the acquisition, there would be no management changes. “There is no change in the management structure here. BBH India will continue to report to BBH Global,” he said.
Industry sources say BBH, like Saatchi & Saatchi (also a Publicis Groupe agency), would retain its autonomy. Globally, BBH manages accounts such as British Airways, Axe, Johnie Walker, Levi’s and Mentos. The company is considered a creative force, thanks largely to Hegarty, often considered a creative visionary.
BBH India’s clients include Hindustan Unilever’s Vaseline brand, Skoda, Acer, Marico (including, Nihar, Parachute Therapie, Mediker and Parachute Ayurvedic) and Google Chrome.
The acquisition would, however, lead to a few changes in the company’s global management. Bogle and Hegarty, both high-profile ad-men, would make way for Simon Sherwood and Alexander Gamam, who would take over as group chairman and worldwide chief creative officer, respectively. The management would also include Gwyn Jones, who would take charge as group chief executive officer and Neil Munn, who takes over as group chief operating officer, in addition to his role as chief executive of BBH’s brand ventures company Zag.
While Bogle and Hegarty would not look after the day-to-day operations anymore, they would still be a part of the BBH board, which would include Sherwood, Publicis representatives Levy, Jean-Yves Naouri, Jean-Michel Etienne and Stephen King, global chief executive of ZenithOptimedia, a Publicis Groupe media agency.