After watching the other ad agency holding companies expand their interactive advertising services, Paris-based Publicis Groupe [NYSE: PUB] has taken a huge leap in that area with today Wednesday’s announcement of plans to acquire Digitas Inc. [NAS: DTAS] for $1.3 billion. The amount represents $13.50 per Digitas share, a 23.5 percent premium on their closing price Dec. 19. Digitas shares closed at $13.35 Wednesday, a gain of 22.14 percent.
Industry observers have been focused for months on possible acquisition ta Dergets by Publicis, the fourth-largest global advertising holding company and the owner of traditional agencies as Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett. Boston-based Digitas, which operates as an interactive agency in its own right and counts General Motors and Delta among its clients, also owns digital shops Modem Media and Medical Broadcasting Co.
For one thing, as Adweek noted, unlike its larger rival Omnicom, which owns digital shops Agency.com, Organic and Atmosphere BBDO, Publicis has little expertise in the interactive ad arena. Publicis did make some small steps in that direction last August, when it acquired Moxie Interactive, an Atlanta-based interactive agency, which was paired with Zenith Media.
Announcing the acquisition, Maurice Levy, Publicis