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Publicis Groupe (A) Leading Creative Acquisitions Case Solution

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
1377 1309 Words (5 Pages) Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Ryan L. Raffaelli Harvard Business School : 506010
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Levy’s business dealings were also highly ethical. He made the right terms, with the right people at the right time. He did not seek advantage of any loss that a company might be facing, but instead resorted to ensuring the best interest of all the people involved – a lesson learned the hard way. Moreover, Levy’s business dealings were professional and aimed at making people familiar with Publicis’s working style and environment, as well as ensuring that all people involved in a merger or acquisition were at ease, comfortable and secure about their jobs.

Following questions are answered in this case study solution

  1. What lessons did Maurice Levy learn from the failed FCB alliance? Was it simply that alliances are too fragile or vulnerable to people who act badly? What did he change or not change subsequently in his approach to collaboration?

  2. How well did Levy handle the courtship appropriate? Why or why not? Did he appear to make the right deals with the right terms the right way?

  3. What were the key features of the integration process? Was it app “reverse takeover”? How did he use hard power and soft power?

  4. What needs to be done now? Management challenges. Develop 4 or 5 major recommendations.

Case Analysis for Publicis Groupe (A) Leading Creative Acquisitions Case Solution

1. What lessons did Maurice Levy learn from the failed FCB alliance? Was it simply that alliances are too fragile or vulnerable to people who act badly? What did he change or not change subsequently in his approach to collaboration?

Levy learned primarily the difference in the cultural settings of different geographies and places. This was seen in the complicated legal environment of the USA, which Publicis had been a partner to. Levy had taken this for granted, and did not see the importance of legal documentation for every correspondence – especially that between partners. For Levy, trust was the root in a business partnership. Though this might be true, he later learned that truth needed to be cemented by legal formalities. In the USA, everything needed to have legal backing – and every action had to have a legal defense and support. A second lesson that levy learned was of putting people before the business, and of putting peoples’ interest before the company’s interest. He learned that people formed the company and pacifying the people and learning to work with and manage their egos was more important than building stockholder’s value for success.

Alliances are not too vulnerable for people who act badly. Levy did not act badly. Levy played by the rules of the business and focused on accomplishing the best for the company. Alliances, however, are fragile and vulnerable for people if the partners are untrustworthy and suspicious of each other. Moreover, if the vision and goals of partners differ, alliances are likely to fall apart as was the case with FCB and Publicis Groupe. Where everything was smooth with Norman, the alliance started to shake up with Bruce who had different interests at heart, and who did not aspire towards the same purpose that Levy did under the terms of the alliance. 

Learning from this experience, Levy changed his approach towards alliances. He worked more towards understanding people and their characters before partnering with them. Moreover, he also paid close attention to the legal formalities and documentation thereafter.

2. How well did Levy handle the courtship appropriate? Why or why not? Did he appear to make the right deals with the right terms the right way?

Levy was able to adequately handle the courtships of Riney, Saatchi, and Burnett. Levy built personal relations to understand the working styles of the different companies as well as discussed Publicis’s working style and the environment. Understanding people, organizational culture, and working style were essential to Levy in order to secure a functional, creative and profitable future partnership.

His actions appeared to be appropriate. Levy gauged each opportunity with close scrutiny and did not jump to any decisions. Moreover, he was slow and steady in all his actions and was well prepared for different scenarios. The focused and planned approach helped Levy’s confidence in acquiring and/or partnering with the aforementioned companies. Moreover, Levy did not let any opportunity slip. He was aware of how critical each partnership was in Publicis’s strategy for globalization and did not delay the chances that would allow him setting foot in foreign markets, especially that of the USA. Another commendable action on the part of Levy was of keeping the information confidential before anything concrete materialized. This was important to keep away the unwanted media buzz as well as ward off potential competition. Keeping information and potential partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions confidential allowed Levy to work in peace without unwanted speculation and without shaking up investor’s and clients’ confidence. 

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