News Byte: Publicis Groupe Acquires POKE

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Publicis Groupe expanded its global digital offerings by acquiring UK digital agency POKE from its four founding shareholders and Mother Holdings Ltd, the holding company announced today.

“POKE is a company that we have admired for some time,” Jean-Yves Naouri said in the release. “This acquisition will further strengthen our Publicis UK offering by adding a new level of digital expertise, creativity and innovation to the Publicis UK group of agencies.”

POKE will join Publicis Group UK along with Publicis London, Publicis Chemistry, and Publicis Blueprint—making it the fourth independent agency within the UK Group. POKE was founded in 2001 and has worked with well-known clients, including Everything Everywhere, Mulberry, Ted Baker, RNLI, iCity, SkyBet, and the BBC. Before the acquisition took place, POKE New York completed a management buyout of the company and relaunched as Makeable, an independent digital innovation company.

Publicis Groupe has been broadening its digital tool belt for quite some time. The holding company acquired integrated brand agency Digitas for $1.3 billion in 2006—which merged with LBi to create DigitasLBi this past February—and launched digital advertising solutions provider VivaKi in 2008.  In fact, digital accounts for 37% of the company's total revenue, as noted in “Speculation Continues on the Omnicom-Publicis Merger.” POKE's experience in service design, UX, digital architecture, social, ecommerce, mobile, and product development will strengthen Publicis' existing offerings across advertising, CRM, and content solutions, notes the press release.

“Particularly appealing is the opportunity to develop digital communication solutions beyond advertising with our new UK partners, the capacity to operate more effectively internationally and the potential of exciting career opportunities for our team,” Nick Farnhill, founding partner and CEO of POKE, said in the release. “Digital isn't one thing. It's everything. So you can't get far without productive partnerships."

This is the fifth acquisition Publicis Groupe has made since it merged with Omnicom at the end of July. The organization acquired U.S. digital service agency Engauge Marketing roughly two weeks after the merger and acquired PR and digital marketing agency Espalhe in Brazil near the end of August. It's global digital expansion continued as Publicis Groupe acquired Canadian digital, event, and video agency TPM Communications at the beginning of September and purchased media agency Zenith Romania about a week ago. 

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