Publicis to Give Free Shares to Its French Employees

Opening Stage of Worldwide Rollout of Incentive Plan

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Publicis Groupe, owner of Leo Burnett, Starcom and other agencies, is giving its 4,500 employees in France 50 free shares each as part of two-pronged stock-based incentive program. At today's share price that award would be worth under $1,000, but that's just about irrelevant since there's a two-year holding period on the shares. That means employees actually receive them in the first half of 2011, according to a press release. Then they have to sit on to them for another two years. All employees at majority-owned companies who have been at the company for a minimum of three months get the stock.

The release said that Publicis is trying to figure out how to do a similar thing in other countries.

The second part of the program is for the bigwigs. That part is only vaguely described in the release, but it involves both personal investments from about 160 "key" executives and free shares based on loyalty and performance.

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