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Publicis Groupe Takes Full Ownership of BBH

Tis a busy post-July 4th for Publicis Groupe as Maurice Levy and his France-based holding company have now acquired the remaining 51 percent stake from BBH founders Nigel Bogle and Sir John Hegarty as well as 100 percent of the shares of Brazilian agency Neogama/BBH.

Publicis Groupe originally acquired a 49 percent stake in BBH 10 years ago when it bought up Bcom3. Regarding the full sale of his 30-year-old agency, which just racked up 21 Cannes Lions this year, BBH’s Bogle says in a statement, “The decision was very clear. We were looking for an opportunity that would ensure that our agency maintained a high degree of autonomy and could continue to abide by the values characterized by the black sheep. The key point for us was the preservation of our operational independence in managing the BBH brand, which has produced almost uninterrupted growth for thirty years. The new ownership not only ensures our autonomy, but brings us considerable advantages through Publicis Groupe’s resources and global infrastructure.”

As a result of the transaction, Hegarty will now pass the baton to Neogama founder Alexandre Gama, who will take over as worldwide CCO. In addition, 30-year BBH vet Simon Sherwood will now assume the role of group chairman, Gwyn Jones, who joined the agency in 1987, becomes group CEO while Zag chief exec Neil Munn will take on the dual role of group chief operating officer. As for Hegarty and Bogle, the founding pair will serve on the Publicis Groupe management board (along with Levy, Sherwood, Jean-Yves Naouri, Jean-Michel Etienne and ZenithOptimedia global CEO Steve King), focusing on client business and mentoring of management. Gwyn Jones, meanwhile, will oversee day-to-day operations for BBH’s global management team.

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