Dentsu and Publicis launch global sports venture
PARIS - Dentsu and Publicis Groupe are to launch an international sports marketing company in January, the first joint venture launched by the two since the formation of an alliance earlier this year.
The alliance between the two follows Publicis' acquisition of Bcom3 in a $3bn (£2.1bn) deal earlier this year. The Japanese advertising group Dentsu took a 15% stake in the merged company, headed by Maurice Levy as chairman and CEO, having previously held 20% of Bcom3.
The new company is to be called iSe (International Sports and Entertainment) and plans to use the sports-related content owned by Dentsu as the core for the development of a rights business, as well as developing new sports marketing rights and consulting activities relating to sports events.
The two advertising giants will initially invest €10m (£6.4m) in the venture, with Dentsu and Publicis each contributing 45%. The remaining 10% will be held by Sports Mondial Inc, the New York-based sports marketing and consulting business.
The launch of iSe will see the two compete with the likes of the Interpublic Group of Companies' Octagon sports marketing unit, which owns the Brands Hatch motor racing circuit.
It deal opens the way for Dentsu to be active in sports marketing on a worldwide scale, and represents the full-scale entry of Publicis into the sports marketing arena.
In addition, the two companies said that they will also cooperate to promote the activities of the new company with Dentsu contributing its sports marketing business expertise, while Publicis will provide its network facilities in Europe and the Americas.
iSe will be based in Switzerland and will be headed by Haruyuki Takahashi as chairman (executive officer, Dentsu), Bertrand Siguier as vice-chairman (executive vice-president, Publicis Worldwide) and George Taylor as CEO (president, Sports Mondial Inc.)
The move was welcomed by Fifa president Joseph Blatter. "Dentsu has been working very closely with Fifa during the past years. Its cooperation with our marketing arm, Fifa Marketing, has been exemplary and has played a major role in assuring the commercial success of the 2002 Fifa World Cup Korea/Japan. By joining forces with Publicis, Dentsu will now establish a sports marketing company, iSe, that will extend its expertise and experience to other sports and Federations. We wish iSe the best of success."
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