Publicis Groupe announced the acquisition of Netalk, a social media services group specializing in social media content, monitoring, & analytics for Chinese social plaforms like Weibo(Chinese Twitter clone), Renren(Chinese Facebook clone), Youku(Chinese YouTube Clone), Taobao(Chinese equivalent of eBay) and WeChat(Chinese equivalent of Viber/Line/WhatsApp).
Evoked earlier this year in Adage, this acquisition is part of a more than $4 Billion acquisition strategy that the Ad giant has been executing on for the past five years. The group purchased Razorfish for $530M in 2009, and has since acquired Social Media Agency Big Fuel, as well, among others. The acquisition will allow Netalk to bring its more than 200 clients, including Coca Cola, Pernod Ricard, Walmart and Adidas, the eCommerce & digital marketing services that Publicis Groupe has brought under its wing (via Razorfish, for example).
Looking at Publicis’ recent wave of acquisitions, it’s clear that Publicis is looking to bring its current clients & suite of services to developing & high-growth markets. Its acquisitions have all included agencies with multinationals as clients, likely Publicis clients in the markets where Publicis dominates. Publicis is looking to become a global agency for a global economy, and that’s a pretty expensive growth strategy; however, assuming the merging process goes well, it’s likely that Publicis will be reaping the benefits of these acquisitions in the next 5 years by picking up local (Chinese) clients who may grow outside of China soon enough, as well as international clients looking to get a stronger foothold in China, a notoriously close ecosystem.
h/t to TechCrunch, photo courtesy of TheGuardian