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Publicis buys Rosetta Marketing

Paris-based Publicis Groupe has entered into an agreement to buy the US digital agency Rosetta Marketing Group in a bid to broaden its digital and interactive marketing service offerings.

Paris-based Publicis Groupe has entered into an agreement to buy the US digital agency Rosetta Marketing Group in a bid to broaden its digital and interactive marketing service offerings.

Rosetta's clients are mainly in the healthcare, financial, retail and technology industries. The agency's key healthcare clients include Allergan, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Johnson & Johnson.

Publicis will pay an initial $575m in cash for the agency, with Rosetta's manager-shareholders also eligible for a potential deferred payment in 2014 based on the agency's performance between 2011 and 2013. The transaction is expected to close during the second or third quarter of 2011.

Following the acquisition, Rosetta will operate as an autonomous, stand-alone brand within Publicis Groupe. Rosetta Founder & CEO Chris Kuenne will continue to lead the company, reporting to Publicis chief operating officer Jean-Yves Naouri. Kuenne will also join the strategic leadership team of Publicis Groupe.

Publicis' existing digital businesses include Digitas, Razorfish and Publicis Modem. With the addition of Rosetta to that list, more than 30 per cent of Publicis' annual revenue will come from digital business.

'The acquisition of Rosetta is a key next step in our strategy to become the "human, all digital agency group",' Maurice Lévy, chairman & CEO of Publicis Groupe, said in a written statement. 'With Rosetta, we aim to enrich our digital knowledge, our capabilities in technology, marketing consulting, and digital strategy, and the creativity we offer to clients.'

Levy said Publicis was attracted to Rosetta in large part because of the agency's combination of consulting and strategic services with its expertise in technology and creative agency services.

Princeton, New Jersey-based Rosetta, which was launched in 1998 with a focus on consulting services, now employs more than 1,100 interactive marketing professionals throughout the US and Canada. The company expects revenues of about $250m in 2011.

18th May 2011

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