by Herman Manson (@marklives) Rumours around the imminent acquisition of below-the-line agency The Creative Counsel by Publicis Groupe are gathering pace. Negotiations around a possible deal are understood to have started in 2014 but have yet to be concluded successfully.

Publicis Groupe logoMemeburn yesterday evening reported that “that French mega agency Publicis is on the verge of securing a deal that will see it acquire The Creative Counsel for a rumoured R1-billion.”

The Creative Counsel is South Africa’s largest advertising agency with revenue exceeding R600 million a year and has more than 650 employees. It runs 200-300 campaigns each year. The agency focuses on promotions and brand activations. It was launched in 2001 by Gil Oved and Ran Neu-Ner.

Both WPP and Publicis, two of the largest international holding companies, have been actively acquiring agency properties in the country over the past two years, with more deals in the pipeline.

Recent acquisitions by Publicis Groupe (head-quartered in Paris, France) includes Publicis Machine, Saatchi & Saatchi BrandsRock (as well as Synergize), Prima Arc, Liquorice (now a DigitasLBi company) and OwenKessel Leo Burnett.

WPP, meanwhile, bought into CerebraQuirk, The Volcano Group (now Grey) and Native. WPP operating company JWT also acquired a majority stake in Durban-based The Hardy Boys. WPP network Ogilvy & Mather acquired Gloo Digital Design in late 2014.

Neither Publicis Groupe or The Creative Counsel were available for comment at the time of publication.

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