Publicis Acquires Rosetta in $575 Million Deal

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Publicis Groupe has acquired U.S. digital ad agency Rosetta for $575 million. The deal means that Publicis, which has put digital agencies at the heart of its strategy over the past decade, will now own three of the top 10 digital shops: No. 1 Digitas, No. 4 Razorfish, and No. 8 Rosetta.

The Princeton-based Rosetta has mostly healthcare, retail, and financial services clients. It will operate as a stand-alone brand within the Publicis empire, and the agency’s founder and CEO Chris Kuenne will remain its head. According to the deal, Publicis will pay $575 million in cash, but Rosetta shareholders can receive an extra payment in 2014 based on how the agency performs between 2011 and 2013.

"There is a combat between major ad groups to be ready to best serve clients in their need for expertise in digital communication," said Publicis chief executive Maurice Levy. "With the acquisition of Rosetta, we continue on our goal to transform Publicis to be best prepared for the new communication world." Levy also said that Publicis plans to develop Rosetta internationally through five or six regional hubs.

@adweekemma Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.