French advertising agency Publicis remains upbeat on its prospects for the rest of the year despite posting disappointing numbers for the second quarter, Publicis CEO Maurice Levy told CNBC on Friday.
Publicis posted organic growth of 1.6 percent in the second quarter, down from 4.1 percent in the first quarter.
“We have told the markets since February that our second quarter was expected to be weak, but we’ve also made very clear that third quarter will be much stronger, and we are relatively optimistic and quite confident on our ability to deliver on our numbers and on our forecast for third quarter,” Levy said.
The firm’s CEO said Publicis will not make a counter-bid for the British company Aegis, which the Japanese advertising powerhouse Dentsu has bought for 3.16 billion pounds ($4.19 billion). The buyout is regarded to be the second-largest outbound mergers & acquisitions deal this year by a Japanese company.
Publicis allowed itself to be ruled out by Dentsu on the deal because it wasn’t an operation that the firm needed, and because the price was too high, Levy said. But the deal is pushing Publicis to take the quality of its services, innovation, creativity to a new level, he added.
The CEO said Publicis has a clear strategy: to invest in digital, where Publicis has a leading position on a worldwide basis, and to invest in fast growing markets. “For the time being we’ve been able to invest wisely and at a decent price,” Levy said.
The head of Publicis added that there are a few acquisitions that are currently being negotiated that would strengthen the firm’s position.
Publicis has recently acquired the remaining shares of British advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty which has made Publicis the sole owner of BBH. Levy said this acquisition has strengthened Publicis position