- Publicis Groupe acquired the independent full-service marketing agency Rauxa, according to an announcement from the ad holding giant. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
- Rauxa, formed 20 years ago, will join Publicis' media unit, Publicis Media. It will retain the leadership of founder Jill Gwaltney and President and CEO Gina Smith, who will report to Publicis Media Exchange CEO Dave Penski and Publicis Media's Regional CEO of Americas Tim Jones. The agency will work closely with other brands under Publicis Media, including Moxie, MRY and Digitas.
- Rauxa reported $70 million in net revenue last year. The firm has more than 300 employees across offices in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Orange County and Dallas. Its client roster includes wireless giants Verizon and Samsung, along with brands like Alaska Airlines, Vans, TGI Fridays and Celgene.
The independent agency landscape loses another noteworthy player with Publicis' latest acquisition. Rauxa is the largest woman-owned agency in advertising, according to Adweek, and brings some high-profile clients and fresh talent to Publicis' already-extensive media agency network.
While financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, Publicis purchase of Rauxa is potentially surprising, coming soon after the holding group's whopping $4 billion acquisition of data marketing firm Epsilon earlier this summer. The deal was among the largest in agency history, but Publicis' coffers apparently weren't dry. Publicis has been eyeing Rauxa for five years, per Adweek, and talks of a deal formally began in late 2018.
Though Rauxa and Epsilon are markedly different, they both fit into Publicis' broader vision for centering more of its business on the types of data-driven marketing and technology that are in high demand among brand clients looking for digital transformation. The pivot to focusing on such offerings versus traditional creative and media services also comes as agencies face fiercer competitive threats from global consultancies like Accenture and Deloitte.
"With the acquisition of Rauxa, Publicis Groupe is reinforcing its expertise in driving one-to-one consumer engagement for clients, through data-driven creativity offerings and scaled capabilities," Arthur Sadoun, Publicis chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
For Rauxa, landing under the Publicis banner will provide "much more firepower and scale" in developing one-to-one marketing solutions for clients, according to Gwaltney. Publicis is among the four largest agency networks in the world, along with WPP, Omnicom and Interpublic.
Publicis could maintain its acquisition spree as it seeks a turnaround to combat the types of client spending cuts that have broadly shaken agency holding companies. The Paris-based group has lost nearly a fifth of its market value in the past year, according to Bloomberg. Sales slid 1.7% in North America, a key market, in Q2 results released in July. At the time, the company adjusted its full-year revenue forecast to be "broadly stable" versus prior expectations to best the 0.8% growth in organic revenue reported for 2018, per Bloomberg.
Rauxa's sale adds to a string of decorated indie shops either getting acquired by larger players or shuttering entirely. Droga5, once proudly independent, was snapped up by Accenture in April, and Barton F. Graf earlier this month announced it would wind down operations at year's end.