Publicis SA breaks off FCB alliance

Publicis SA and FCB have broken off their international alliance over differences in the strategic development of the partnership.

The alliance was an agreement to develop international business together and it led to the creation of the joint venture Publicis-FCB Europe.

Negotiations to resolve differences are continuing but the relationship, which began in 1988, was undermined by a row over the transformation of FCB Communications in the US into True North Communications. FCB did not consult Publicis, which angered the French network.

The two firms have a cross-share ownership structure – which is not likely to be affected in the short term – and shared clients. Publicis-FCB Europe generates an income of 10bn French francs (£1.2bn) across 17 countries. They claim that the row will not affect the venture’s operations but, if the relationship between its two parents unravels, it is hard to see how Publicis-FCB Europe can stay ring-fenced.

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