Digital arm of French ad agency Publicis expands to Latin America

·2-min read
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By Kylie Madry

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Publicis, one of the world's largest advertising companies, will extend its presence in Latin America with the purchase of Argentina-based Practia by its digital arm Publicis Sapient, the French company said on Thursday.

"The move to Latin America was, one, driven by the fact that digital transformation in Latin America has been growing pretty rapidly," Publicis Sapient CEO Nigel Vaz told Reuters.

"But then second, we always recognized that we would need to create a capability in Latin America as a talent market to support our clients in the U.S.," he added.

Publicis did not say how much it had paid for the tech firm, which works across nine countries in the fields of data, engineering and artificial intelligence.

The digital arm is planning to "significantly" ramp up capabilities out of the countries Practia already operates in but is not planning on entering any other new ones at the moment, Vaz said.

From these countries, Publicis Sapient plans to serve clients in both Latin America and North America, Vaz added. In North America, the company will target "established clients," which tend to be Fortune 50 or Fortune 100 companies, he said.

A number of U.S. firms have been moving manufacturing operations to Latin America and the Caribbean in recent years in a drive to "nearshore" to nearby countries, rather than Asia.

This move can "help the (Latin American) market leapfrog some of the challenges that have existed in some of the developed markets," Vaz said, adding it also creates an opportunity for international firms betting on Latin American talent.

The Latin American market, which includes e-commerce, digital marketing, cloud-based solutions and automation and artificial intelligence, is expected to be worth more than $207 billion by 2032, according to a study cited by the company.

Publicis has been focusing on expanding its digital footprint. It is navigating a global shift in advertising trends as Google looks to phase out the use of third-party cookies.

(Reporting by Kylie Madry; additional reporting by Tassilo Hummel and Sarah Morland; editing by David Gregorio and Grant McCool)