French electronics giant Thomson hires Publicis for global ad account

The company at the centre of a privatisation row with the new socialist government in France is centralising its global advertising into Publicis.

The consumer electronics company, Thomson Multimedia, a subsidiary of the state-owned defence and electronics group Thomson SA, has hired the French-owned agency after a pitch which also included Ogilvy & Mather, J Walter Thompson, Young & Rubicam and Grey. Thomson Multimedia owns the Ferguson brand in the UK.

Publicis works with the company in European markets, which include France, Italy, Spain and the UK.

Under the new contract it picks up work in new European markets, including Germany and Portugal, as well as the accounts for the US, Asia and the Middle East.

Thomson Multimedia suffered higher losses than expected of FF710m (74m) in the first quarter of 1997, and was caught up in a political row over state subsidies, when it was revealed the government was preparing an FF11bn (1.2bn) recapitalisation ahead of privatisation.

Earlier this year, the company was offered for sale to the Korean company Daewoo for FF1, but the deal was thwarted by an independent privatisation committee.

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