Publicis Groupe buys back 18 mn shares from Dentsu

MUMBAI: European media communications group Publicis Groupe has bought back 18 million of its own shares from Dentsu for a total price of 644.4 million euros, which translates to 35.80 euros per share.

The transaction was completed before the opening of the Paris stock market on 17 February.

At a meeting held on 14 February, the Supervisory Board of Publicis examined the management board‘s proposal to proceed with the buy-back and decided on the acquisition of 18 million shares and immediate cancellation of 10,759,813 shares. This step was taken within the framework of the buy-back program approved at the general meeting of shareholders of the Groupe on 7 June 2011 in the interests of Publicis Groupe and its shareholders as a whole.

The buy-back involved a discount of 13.35 per cent from Publicis Groupe‘s closing share price on 16 February. It will have a positive effect on diluted earnings per share of approximately 6 per cent in 2012 and 7 per cent on a full year basis.

After cancellation of 10.76 million shares, which is the maximum number that the Groupe was permitted to cancel after its cancellation of shares on 10 May, 2010, a total 10 per cent of the Groupe‘s shares have been cancelled over the past 24 months.

The remaining 7.24 million treasury shares will be kept for use to cover incentive plans for retention shares, performance shares, stock options and acquisitions.

The purchase was fully financed from Publicis Groupe‘s available cash.

Additionally, the buy-back resulted in termination of the shareholders‘ agreement and the strategic alliance agreement that Dentsu and Publicis Groupe entered into in 2003. As a result, Dentsu chairman Tatsuyoshi Takashima and Dentsu president and CEO Tadashi Ishii have resigned from Publicis Groupe‘s Supervisory Board.

Publicis Groupe chairman of the management board and CEO Maurice Lévy said, "The partnership with Dentsu over the past 10 years has been amicable and exemplary. Dentsu‘s stake in the share capital of Publicis has furthered the development of the Groupe. I wish to express my gratitude for the elegance and professionalism with which this partnership has been carried out, and to all the Dentsu executives who have taken part in this adventure."

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