CMO Today: Publicis Shares Dive on Earnings; Hearst Buys Rodale; WSJ D.Live Day 3

CMO Today: Publicis Shares Dive on Earnings; Hearst Buys Rodale; WSJ D.Live Day 3 553 369 C-Suite Network
Publicis CEO Arthur Sadoun shakes hands with his predecessor, Maurice Levy, at a general assembly in Paris in May, shortly before he took the helm.
Publicis CEO Arthur Sadoun shakes hands with his predecessor, Maurice Levy, at a general assembly in Paris in May, shortly before he took the helm.

Publicis Groupe reported mixed third-quarter earnings on Thursday, with its 1.2% organic revenue growth coming in slightly below the 1.8% analysts had estimated, largely due to weaknesses in its Europe and Asia Pacific units. That sent Publicis’s shares down more than 6% this morning. One bright spot was Publicis North America, which reported a 3% lift in organic revenue in the quarter, above the 1.9% expected, as the agency group was boosted by recent account wins including Lowe’s, USAA and Wal-Mart. But Publicis CEO Arthur Sadoun sounded caution on a “volatile” environment and provided no fourth-quarter forecast—other than to say that October is looking better than September—as the quarter is “difficult to predict,” which may still make investors nervous.

—Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not—

Mr. Sadoun reiterated that he is repositioning Publicis from a communications business to a “transformation partner” for its clients that has a bigger scope of work than creating ads and buying media, such as consulting and data projects. That’s evident from the acquisition of Sapient two years ago, plus the many recent internal reshuffles. Mr. Sadoun said that means Publicis should be judged by analysts and investors on different merits, such as retaining clients and driving growth (which, er, sounds a lot like how we judge the performance of advertising companies). Elsewhere, unlike its rivals who have indicated CPG spend is accelerating again after a dip earlier this year, Publicis said it wasn’t seeing such trends. (To that point, Unilever reported disappointing third-quarter revenue this morning and Nestlé reported a sales growth slowdown.) And what about our old friend Marcel? I only counted one mention…

Share This