Publicis Groupe to complete Sapient takeover Thursday

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Maurice Lévy: the chairman and chief executive of Publicis Groupe.
Maurice Lévy: the chairman and chief executive of Publicis Groupe.

Sapient acquisition is an important strategic investment for the holding company, following the collapse of the proposed merger with Omnicom.

Publicis Groupe has overcome the final hurdles in its takeover of Sapient for $3.7 billion after gaining all the required regulatory approvals, and expects to complete the transaction tomorrow.

The deal had been waiting for the verdict of the US Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice following its scrutiny into the acquisition.

Delays in dealing with this scrutiny meant the takeover had to be postponed from 7 Jan. to 22 Jan. and then from 22 Jan. to 5 Feb., as Sapient will pass into "foreign" hands.

Publicis expects to complete the purchase after 11.59am EST tomorrow.

The company has "received all antitrust and regulatory approvals in connection with its tender offer to purchase, so the takeover can proceed," according to a Publicis statement.

Publicis will buy Sapient for $25 per share, or a total of $3.7 billion (its shares are trading on Nasdaq today at $24.87 giving the company a market capitalization of $3.5 billion). When the deal was announced in November 2014, the price represented a 44 percent premium over the share price.

Sapient is an important strategic investment for Publicis Groupe, following the collapse of the proposed deal between Omnicom and Publicis amid cultural differences.

Sapient, which works as a digital ad agency, a digital consultant and data management agency, was described as a "crown jewel, a one of a kind company born in the technology space" by Maurice Lévy, the chairman and chief executive of Publicis Groupe.

Publicis hoped the acquisition combined with its digitally focused agencies like Razorfish and DigitasLBi will help push overall digital revenues above 50 percent.

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