The merger follows the completion of Publicis’ £333m acquisition of LBi, hatched last September.
Kitcatt Nohr launched in 2002 from the ashes of charity specialist agency Lion – originally launched by DM charity veteran Ken Burnett. Publicis bought the agency in March 2011, for an undisclosed sum, and immediately merged it into the UK office of ailing Digitas.
The only change is that the management team, led by chief executive Marc Nohr, will now report to LBi EMEA chief executive Ewen Sturgeon.
Nohr said: “While on a global level this presents many exciting opportunities and is very positive, here in the UK at Kitcatt Nohr Digitas there are no planned changes and we will continue to operate business as usual. There will be no disruption to the management of our much valued client projects.”
LBi chief executive Luke Taylor takes on the role of global chief executive of the new network. Both digital agencies operate worldwide but Digitas is strong in the US, while LBi’s strength is in Europe. The combined organisation will have 5,700 staff across 28 countries.
The move is the latest twist in the battle for digital supremecy between WPP – which last year bought AKQA for £350m – and Publicis.
Publicis boss Maurice Levy said: “Advertisers need a truly integrated and global digital network that can anticipate trends, forecast the ‘next’ while constantly innovating in our ever-changing world. The combination of Digitas and LBi will create the world’s leading concentration of digital skills.”
Publicis has a history of retaining what it sees as the stronger agency brand in buy-out deals. Following the £14.45m purchase of Chemistry Communications, Publicis Dialog became Publicis Chemistry, but only in the UK – in the rest of the world its retains the Dialog moniker.
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