Publicis Groupe Acquires W&K Communications Agency Further Strengthening Its Operations in China

PARIS – Regulatory News:

Publicis Groupe (Paris:PUB) announced the acquisition of the Chinese full-service advertising agency W&K Communications. Effective immediately, the agency will be re-branded as Leo Burnett W&K Beijing Advertising Co. and will become part of Leo Burnett Greater China operations. W&K Communications will continue to be led by Mr. Guo Weijun, current Chairman, and Mr. Wang Yi, Managing Director. Both will now report to Michael Wood, CEO of Leo Burnett Greater China.

Founded in 2004, W&K Communications employs nearly one hundred communications specialists between its Beijing and Guangzhou offices. The Chinese agency provides extensive services in advertising, promotions, television production and media buying. Major clients include Air China, Mengniu (Dairy), Yutong (Bus), Holiland (Food), Totole (Condiments) COFCO (Oils and Foodstuffs), PICC (Insurance), Tsingtao Beer and Daliyuan (Food). W&K Communications has been recognized by a number of national awards such as the China Agency Awards (2005-2006), Five Star Diamond Brand (2006), Great Wall Awards (2004-2008), China Creative Awards (2004-2008) and the China EFFIE Awards (2005-2008).

This strategic move once again demonstrates Publicis Groupe’s ongoing determination to strengthen its presence in emerging economies, particularly in China, and increase revenue share from these high-growth markets. The acquisition of W&K Communications follows a series of other recent acquisitions in China, such as EmporioAsia in May, CCG in 2007, as well as Betterway Marketing Solutions and Emotion in 2006. According to ZenithOptimedia forecasts, Chinese advertising expenditure has more than tripled since 2000. The Shanghai World Expo in 2010 and the Asia Games are the next major global events that are expected to stimulate high demand for advertising between 2008 and 2010.

Tom Bernardin, Chairman & CEO of Leo Burnett Worldwide, welcomed this development. “This is a very important step for our operation in Greater China especially since it follows Leo Burnett’s acquisition of EmporioAsia earlier this year. We are thrilled to be making this move with Mr. Guo Weijun and Mr. Wang Yi of W & K Communications. Together, we will not only increase our market share, but we will create ideas that will connect with people and impact their behavior in a relevant, interesting and useful way. I anticipate great things from this partnership.”

Mr. Guo Weijun, Current Chairman of W & K Communications and Mr. Wang Yi, Managing Director of W & K Communications, “We’ve continued to grow at a very steady pace over the past years, and we’ve reached a point where we need to make the jump from local to global. We are very excited about leveraging the resources and international reach of Leo Burnett, and tapping into the wealth of opportunities offered by joining Publicis Groupe. “

About Publicis Groupe

Publicis Groupe [Euronext Paris: FR0000130577] is the world’s fourth largest communications group. In addition, it is ranked as the world’s second largest media counsel and buying group, and is a global leader in digital and healthcare communications. With activities spanning 104 countries on five continents, the Groupe employs approximately 44,000 professionals. The Groupe offers local and international clients a complete range of communication services, from advertising through three autonomous global advertising networks, Leo Burnett, Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi and two multi-hub networks, Fallon and 49%-owned Bartle Bogle Hegarty; to media consultancy and buying, through two worldwide networks, Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia; interactive and digital marketing led by Digitas; Specialized Agencies and Marketing Services offering healthcare communications, corporate and financial communications, sustainability communications, shopper marketing, public relations, CRM and direct marketing, event and sports marketing, and multicultural communications.

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Leo Burnett Worldwide

Leo Burnett Worldwide, comprising the Leo Burnett brand agency and marketing partner Arc Worldwide, is one of the world’s largest agency networks and a subsidiary of Publicis Groupe, the world’s fourth-largest communications company. Leo Burnett holds people at the center of its strategic thinking, technological innovation and creative ideas, focusing first and foremost on human behavior before attempting to tell a brand’s story.

With this approach, Leo Burnett ensures that people who buy into client brands believe in them all the more. With expertise in mass advertising and digital, promotional and retail marketing, Leo Burnett partners with blue-chip clients such as The Coca-Cola Company, Diageo, Kellogg, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble and Samsung. The company has won more advertising awards for campaign effectiveness than any other agency in the last six years in the U.S., has been heralded as a “pioneer on the frontier of marketing” and continues to be ranked as one of the world’s top five creatively awarded networks worldwide.

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W&K Communications

W&K Communications is one of China’s most outstanding local advertising and communications agencies. Headquartered in Beijing, and also present in Guangzhou, W&K Communications employs nearly 100 communications experts. The agency was founded in January 2004 upon the merger of two local agencies, Welldone and Kap. The majority of W&K Communications’ clients are leading brands in their own industry. Major clients include Mengniu(Dairy), Yutong (Bus), Holiland (Food), Totole (Condiments), COFCO (Oils and Foodstuffs) , PICC (Insurance), Tsingtao Beer, Air China, and Daliyuan (Food).

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