The four founders and eight executives from the British agency Kittcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw (KNAS), which was acquired by Publicis in 2011, won their lawsuit against the French advertising giant, as was first reported by Campaign.
The judge in the case awarded the former founders and managers of the creative agency $3.2 million (£2.6 million), less than the $4.4 million (£3.6 million) the plainants were seeking.
The judge has yet to rule on costs, which could add another $2.4 million (£2 million) to Publicis’ bill.
The lawsuit alleged that “critical information” was withheld from the former shareholders of KNAS in “circumstances so appalling that Publicis’ own employees have subsequently reacted with embarrassment and guilt.”
Publicis Groupe acquired KNAS in 2011 to merge it with the London Digitas office. After the deal, the terms of the earn-outs for KNAS execs were linked to the performance of the new agency formed in the acquisition. When the KNAS team found out 52.7% of Digitas UK’s revenue came from one client, Procter & Gamble, they wanted to be sure of the strength of the relationship and were told it had the “confidence of a retainer.”
Only later did the claimants learn that the “impending loss of Digitas UK’s P&G business had in fact been widely anticipated within Publicis and Digitas UK since as early as July 2010,” before the acquisition of KNAS was completed.
Marc Nohr, one of the founders of KNAS, told Business Insider: “I am relieved that justice prevailed. And pleased to have honoured the commitment we made to our chairman Jeremy Shaw before he sadly passed away, that we would fight until the end and not be daunted by the size of our opponent.”
Publicis Groupe did not immediately respond to comment.