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Publicis takes control of BBH

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Publicis Groupe has taken over complete control of Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), ten years after taking a 49% stake in BBH in 2002. This move by the French advertising group ends the independence of one of the most well-recognised agencies in advertising.

BBH was founded in London in 1982 by John Bartle, Nigel Bogle and Sir John Hegarty. The company now employs about 1,000 staff worldwide. BBH are behind some the best-known ads ever, including the Levis launderette ad, and the first award winning work for Google.

BBH chief executive Nigel Bogle denied that the agency would lose control of its destiny, and said that the move was intended to preserve the independence of the agency.

Bogle commented: "The decision was very clear, we were looking for an opportunity that would ensure that our agency maintained a high degree of autonomy and could continue to abide by the values characterised by the black sheep [the agency logo],"

"The key point for us was the preservation of our operational independence. The new ownership not only ensures our autonomy, but brings us considerable advantages through Public Groupe's resources and global infrastructure."

The takeover by Publicis will mean that BBH’s full global profits can be included in Publicis’ financial results. In 2011 BBH made €112.2m in global revenues.

In order to take control of the BBH network globally, Publicis Groupe has also announced that it is buying BBH's 34% stake in Neogama/BBH Brazil, as well as the 66% from founder Alexandre Gama and his partners.

Bogle and Hegarty are stepping back from running the business, but are staying active on client accounts. Hegarty has appointed Alexandre Gama, founder of Neogama/BBH Brazil as worldwide chief creative officer.

The first ever graduate intake, Gwyn Jones, who joined in 1987, has been promoted to group chief executive.

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