Publicis Groupe turned in a strong 2021, including a 10% jump in organic revenue, and has plans to invest significantly more in data and tech acquisitions in 2022.
The holding company is also thanking its employees with bonuses tied to the holding company's recent performance.
As the first of the major agency holding companies to report its full-year 2021 results, Publicis appears to have rebounded strongly from the pandemic. Revenue rose 8% to 10,487 million euros last year. Organic revenue, which strips out the impact of acquisitions, divestitures and currency fluctuations, rose 10% from 2020 and was 3% ahead of 2019's pre-pandemic performance.
Speaking to Ad Age, Arthur Sadoun, CEO and chairman of Publicis Groupe, described 2021 as a “record year” on every key performance indicator. Publicis Sapient and Epsilon have grown particularly strongly in the U.S., with both growing 15% over two years, he noted. Overall, Publicis Sapient and Epsilon grew by 13.8% and 12.8%, respectively, in 2021.
“The shift to data and commerce is coming faster than ever and we have the capabilities to do it,” Sadoun said.
Boosting M&A budget
Publicis increased its mergers and acquisitions budget to between 400 million and 600 million euros, up from 300 million in 2021, in order to invest in more data and tech.
"Our ability to invest in this kind of technology … creates a product that is absolutely central for our clients," said Sadoun. "We’re going to accelerate this in the months to come.”
Publicis also announced plans to give bonuses to all employees who have been with the company for at least 24 months. And, for the first time in its history, it will give an additional week’s salary to 35,000 staff who do not have bonus plans in their contracts. This doubles its bonus pool from 2019 levels.
Sadoun thanked his employees and announced the bonus scheme in an internal video.