Two Become One: Publicis to Acquire Sapient
by Joseph Wykes
Sapient, a pioneer and fixture of Massachusetts’ digital industry, announced today it has agreed to be acquired by Publicis, the world’s third largest advertising agency with $7B in sales, for $3.7B. An Acquia partner, Sapient employs 13,000 people worldwide with a large presence in India, and operates three primary divisions: Nitro, Government Services and Capital Markets. Initial reports say that a new division called Publicis.Sapient will be formed and join Publicis’ existing portfolio of digital agencies: Razorfish, Rosetta and DigitasLBi.
This is an exciting development and illustrates the profound changes occurring in the digital experience delivery industry:
The quest for digital strategic leadership is forcing change in the professional services market. Global systems integrators such as IBM, HP, Accenture and Wipro -- historically the supplier to the CIO -- are building teams that specifically service the needs of the CMO and CDO and capitalize on their new found influence. Accenture created Accenture Digital via the acquisition of Acquity Group (Acquia’s SVP of Commerce Ray Grady helped start Acquity); Deloitte Digital via Banyan Branch; PWC via BGT Partners. And at the same time, advertising agencies have been acquiring firms to ensure that they can provide the technical depth that digital leaders require. WPP acquired Acceleration, Salmon and Cognifide; IPG amassing capabilities through firms like MRM, Huge and recently Genuine Interactive. It is clear; the race is on.
This morning Ray Grady wrote his view of the news: “This will be a big sea change as it relates to how enterprises view global services firms. The distinction between global system integrators and global advertising and digital marketing agencies is much smaller now.”
As we know, the marketing world is going through massive, rapid change. Marketers of yesteryear lived in a world of ads. An agency CEO recently said to me that Don Draper simply would not recognize our world. He was right,. Today’s digital winners understand that harnessing data and putting it to work with personalized experiences, are table stakes. Doing so across the audiences and multiple channels they prefer, in a marketplace where disruption is “de rigueur,” means that most people are simply playing catch up.
It is for these reasons that consolidation is happening. And this demand creates opportunity for Acquia and its network of leading digital agencies. Our suite of Digital Engagement and Experience solutions are the technologies that can enable rapid change and improved results. They are the change agents that services firms need to transform their businesses.
Acquia and Sapient will continue to collaborate on exciting customer projects. Sapient has trained a team in India to become its Drupal specialist delivery group, and we look forward to working with them on future projects.
Acquia counts a growing number of the Publicis family of digital agencies among its valued partners, working with the likes of DigitasLBi, Nurun and Publicis Modem on several client projects.
The Publicis.Sapient roll-up offers us the potential to further collaborate with both firms and their clients. We look forward to working with both firms, their subsidiaries and clients in the future.
To both firms, here’s to your future together. We at Acquia look forward to the combined power of your partnership and collaborating together as the challenge of unifying the delivery of content, commerce and community only grows more urgent.