Publicis Groupe takes majority stake in Big Fuel

PARIS: Publicis Groupe has acquired a majority stake in New York-based social media agency Big Fuel, with the possibility of taking full ownership from 2014.

PARIS: Publicis Groupe has acquired a majority stake in New York-based social media agency Big Fuel, with the possibility of taking full ownership from 2014.

Publicis Groupe has purchased a 51% equity stake in the agency and will be aligning it under the VivaKi organization, where it will serve as a social media center for member agencies Digitas, Razorfish, Starcom MediaVest Group, and Zenith Optimedia.

Jon Bond, CEO at Big Fuel, said the ability to leverage Publicis' resources and base in major markets around the world will allow it to become a truly global social media agency, as well as expand its relationship with current clients.

“We want to kind of develop this footprint to be able to service the global needs of large clients,” Bond said.

The agency will report to VivaKi through Laura Lang, global CEO of Digitas and member of the VivaKi board of directors.

Big Fuel is one of the largest social-media-specific agencies operating in the US, providing strategic, creative, management, distribution, and analytics support to clients. Its 2011 revenue is expected to reach $30 million.

Big Fuel was recently selected as the social media AOR for T-Mobile USA, following a competitive RFP process involving 10 firms. Big Fuel will support T-Mobile's brand channel management and social media strategy, as well as creating custom social campaigns for the communications company in an account estimated to be in the seven-figure range.

Other major clients include General Motors Co., Microsoft, InBev, Clorox, and Colgate-Palmolive.

Publicis Groupe also recently completed its acquisition of Rosetta Marketing Group for $575 million. The purchase was intended to improve Publicis Groupe's digital communications presence and to bring it closer to the goal of having digital business account for 35% of annual revenue within the next three years.

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