Publicis Groupe SA made “its boldest move yet into digital marketing” with the French advertising group’s $4.4 billion purchase of Alliance Data Systems Corp.’s Epsilon unit, reports Bloomberg, which added that  the owner of agencies Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett Worldwide “is betting Epsilon’s trove of consumer data from loyalty programs and email campaigns will help it shift away from traditional TV commercials and billboards, where sales are falling as consumer giants spend more online.

“Publicis announced the takeover — its largest ever — on Sunday as it reported a 1.6 percent drop in first-quarter organic sales, after the loss of a handful of clients. Epsilon collects data including transactions, location and web activity, and is less exposed to consumer-goods companies, Publicis Chief Executive Officer Arthur Sadoun said on a call with analysts on Monday.

“Clients are facing mounting challenges in a “data-led and digital-first world,” Sadoun said in an interview. He said Epsilon will bring “an acceleration in data and platform that will position us as a clear leader in personalized experience at scale.”

“The big ad holding companies including Publicis and WPP Plc are now up against consultants focused on business transformation, such as Accenture Plc, which is also getting into creative work. At the same time, tech giants Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google threaten to cut out agencies as buyers of ad space.”

Two Publicis firms – MSL and Publicis Sapient – have D.C. offices.

More here.

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