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About Mslgroup Americas, Inc.

Publicis is one of the world's largest advertising and media firms. The European holding company provides a range of marketing services through four operating segments: Publicis Communications, Publicis Sapient, Publicis Media, and Publicis Health. Well-known agency brands include Leo Burnett, Digitas, and Saatchi & Saatchi. Its Starcom and Zenith units are among the world's largest media planning enterprises. The firm serves major brands and clients (Mercedes-Benz, Campbell Soup, Kraft Heinz) through offices in more than 200 cities and 100 countries. Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet founded Publicis in 1926 and named it after the French word for advertising combined with the French word for six, his favorite number.


Publicis is organized into four segments. Its Publicis Communications is the creative communications hub and includes Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi, among several other creative agencies. Publicis Sapient is the company's digital and technology arm. Publicis Media operates media planning and buying services through agencies such as Zenith, Digitas, and Starcom. Operations in scientific and medical marketing and communications fall under Publicis Health.

Geographic Reach

Publicis is headquartered in Paris and has operations around the world. North America accounts for the largest share of the company's revenue at more than 50% of total, followed by Europe (about 30%), Asia/Pacific (10%), and Latin America and Middle East/Africa (less than 5% each).

Sales and Marketing

Publicis serves clients in financial services, food and drink, non-food consumer products, automotive, technology, media, telecommunications, healthcare, and retail sectors, among others.

Financial Performance

Note: Growth rates may differ after conversion to US Dollars.

With the exception of 2017 to 2018, Publicis' revenue increased year-over-year in the most recent five-year period. Net income, however, grew between 2017 and 2018 while other years were more sporadic. The company is facing a major industry challenge: an overall decline in marketing spending amid intense competition from digital platforms such as Google and Facebook.

Publicis reported €9.9 billion in revenue for fiscal 2018 up only a little more than 1% from the prior year. The company attributed the slow growth to budget cuts from some of its consumer clients that hindered results.

The company's net income was €919 million in fiscal 2018, up from €862 million in 2017. Streamlining efforts resulted in cost savings of €200 million that year.

Cash at the end of 2018 was €196 million. Its costly acquisition of Epsilon tripled Publicis' debt, making the company highly leveraged.


Publicis is working to transform its business by streamlining operations and focusing on its core assets. In 2019 its Sapient business absorbed Razorfish, once the company's biggest digital agency, in order to cut costs.

Meanwhile, as part of a strategic review in 2019 the company divested part of its health business that had been a drag on earnings. The company determined the division, which managed drug sales representatives, was not core to its operations. Divested health brands included Touchpoint, PDI, Tardis Medical, PHrequency, and CustomPoint Recruiting. 

A key area of focus going forward is the integration of the newly-acquired Epsilon business. The company has formed nearly 20 operational task forces to address issues such as privacy, real estate, support functions, and shared services as it integrates Epsilon into its operations. 

Publicis is focused on gaining new business. Major recent wins for the company include the $1.5 billion GlaxoSmithKline media account and $950 million North American media business for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.



Mergers and Acquisitions

In 2019 Publicis Groupe acquired data-driven marketing firm Epsilon from Alliance Data Systems for about $4 billion in one of Madison Avenue's most expensive deals. Epsilon creates personalized marketing campaigns using information its clients collect about their own customers so that companies can target ads more effectively. The business generates about $1.9 billion in revenue annually and Publicis is placing Epsilon at the center of its agency network. It made the purchase to gain a competitive advantage over direct rivals such as WPP and IPG as well as the smaller consulting firms that are encroaching on its territory.

Company Background

In 1926 Marcel Bleustein, then 19 years old, started France's first advertising agency, which he called Publicis (a takeoff on "publicity" and "six"). The company has spent the subsequent decades expanding globally through partnerships and acquisitions.

A major purchase was Saatchi & Saatchi, which it acquired in 2000 for about $1.9 billion. Along with the deal, the company inherited Saatchi's 50% of media buying unit Zenith Media (jointly owned by Cordiant Communications). In 2001 it merged Optimedia and Zenith, with Publicis owning 75% of the new business.

In 2007, Publicis substantially beefed up its digital offerings when it bought US-based Digitas for $1.3 billion. Its next mega-deal was its 2015 purchase of US-based digital network Sapient for $3.7 billion. 

Mslgroup Americas, Inc.

San Francisco, CA 94133-5200
Phone: 1 (415) 981-0950

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Privately Owned
Employees (This Location): 22

Major Office Locations

San Francisco, CA