Publicis Groupe yesterday announced its acquisition of PBJS, a Seattle-based digital marketing and event production company with deep ties to Microsoft.
PBJS was founded in 2003 by a handful of partners that included a pair of Microsoft executives. CEO Bob Bejan worked at the software giant from 1996 to 2002 and helped launch the MSN network. COO Jenny Spigot spent nine years at Microsoft, including a stint as senior producer at Microsoft Studios.
Today, PBJS holds a long-term contract with Redmond, WA-based Microsoft to produce a range of internal and external events. It produced several high-profile events for the launch of Windows Vista.
PBJS will continue to operate as a separate brand, but will be aligned with Publicis Events Worldwide. Bejan will report directly to John Farrell, president and CEO of Publicis Specialized Agency and Marketing Services.
PBJS boasts a staff of 26 in its single Seattle office. Other clients include AT&T, Intel and Smart Balance.
Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Publicis touted the purchase of PBJS as not just the acquisition of a marketing firm, but of a "significant part of Microsoft's marketing business." Indeed, Microsoft itself appeared to bless the union in a written statement released by the Paris-based holding company.
"We have worked with PBJS over the past several years on a number of our live experiences, product launches, internal and external communication events, and they will continue to be our valued and experienced partner in these areas," said Mich Mathews, SVP, Marketing for the Microsoft Corporation.
Microsoft's creative ad account has been with McCann Erickson, of the Interpublic Groupe, for the past several years, though it did recently throw some ad business to MDC Partner's Crispin Porter and Bogusky.
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Douglas Quenqua is a journalist based in Brooklyn, NY who writes about culture and technology. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New York Observer, and Fortune.
March 19, 2014