“I have had no meetings with Sam Balsara,” said Maurice Levy (pictured), chairman and chief executive officer, Publicis Groupe, quashing all speculation of his media services conglomerate acquiring Madison World, Balsara’s homegrown and successful advertising behemoth.
“I have a lot of regard for the work he has done,” Levy said about Balsara.
Levy is in India after two years, a period in which various entities of his group have made many acquisitions. While confirming that he is looking at more investments in the market by way of buying existing entities, he did not reveal any specifics. “India is a strategic market for us. We want to invest here,” he said.
In India, the Publicis group has varied interests in creative and media buying and planning agencies, public relations and a variety of marketing services interests.
The France-based transnational group had announced its merger with the US-based conglomerate Omnicom. The merger has been cleared by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and is now awaiting similar clearances from the European Union, China and Columbia, Levy said. He indicated that the merger should happen around the second quarter of 2014 and made light of the comments of arch rival and WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell on the merger as “part of his job”.
When asked whether the Publicis group was on course of its target of doubling revenues by end-2014, Levy said post the merger with Omnicom, it will be more than a doubling.
Levy joined Publicis in 1971 in charge of IT and in 1975 was appointed president of Publicis Conseil and took responsibility for the international development of the group from the early 1980s, piloting a series of important acquisitions as well as the Groupe’s pioneering strategic focus on digital. Levy has been chairman and CEO of the Publicis Groupe since 1987.
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