It wouldn’t be the first summer weekend French agency holding company Publicis Groupe sent shock waves through the advertising ecosystem.
Close to the anniversary of the infamous ad merger of equals that never quite materialized as Publicis Omnicom Group (POG), French pub Boursier reported on a rumor the holding company could be close to extending a takeover bid for 9-year-old French ad tech company Criteo, which went public last October.
French financial daily Les Échos followed that report with a claim the deal has been in the pipeline for three months and could conclude in the coming days. Criteo’s stock shot up 19% in early trading Friday before the markets closed for the Labor Day weekend.
Will it happen?
Although neither of the companies confirmed anything (“It’s not our policy to comment on rumor or speculation,” said a Criteo spokeswoman), a prospective deal would be expensive, leading some industry insiders to question the rumor’s validity. Criteo has a $2 billion market cap and did $221 million in revenue for the second quarter, meaning it could cost Publicis an estimated $3 billion minimum.