Publicis Buys Brazilian Agency Tribal

Publicis Groupe announced today it has acquired Sao-Paulo-based digital agency, Tribal, as it further expands its global operations. The agency, which offers digital services including planning and buying, campaign management and Web development, will be incorporated into Publicis Groupe’s Digitas network.

The acquisition follows a Publicis Groupe plan to invest in emerging markets and build its digital operations.

Tribal’s existing branding will be retained, alongside its staff and management team. CEO Pierre Mantovani and Chief Creative Officer Renato Fabr will now report directly into Digitas Latin America CEO Francois de La Villardiere.

Laura Lang, Chairman and CEO of Digitas, described the acquisition as “key” for strengthening the network’s global operations, specifically citing Brazil’s market growth potential. “From a digital perspective, Brazil is vital for our clients and Tribal gives us a center of excellence to leverage in an important growth market,” she stated in a press release.

According to Publicis-owned ZenithOptimedia, Brazilian ad spend grew by 25.1 percent in 2007, and will see double-digit growth throughout 2009 and 2010.

Publicis acquired Digitas in 2006 and has since expanded through purchases in the UK, India, Singapore, China, and France. Though Tribal is Digitas’s first Latin American acquisition, Publicis Groupe itself already has a Brazilian presence through agencies such as Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett and Fallon.

In its Q3 earnings, released last month, Publicis placed emphasis on the digital sector remaining buoyant throughout a difficult period for advertising. For Q3 it reported sales growth of 9.9 percent from its Latin American operations, compared to 3.9 percent growth worldwide.

Current Tribal clients include Microsoft and electronics giant Philips. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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