French ad firm Publicis in talks to buy Alliance Data's Epsilon

PARIS (Reuters) - French advertising group Publicis is in talks to buy Alliance Data System’s Epsilon marketing unit, which some media reports have valued at around $5 billion.

Publicis, whose shares were down 4.4 percent by 1025 GMT, gave no details on Monday on the potential value of any deal and said there was no guarantee it would proceed with an offer.

Epsilon would strengthen Publicis’ presence in the United States, where it competes with Omnicom, Interpublic and WPP.

“The group’s governing bodies feel an obligation to study any possibility to strengthen its position thanks to assets that could fit the group’s strategy and bring an enhanced service to the group’s clients, while reinforcing its competitiveness for the future,” Publicis said in a statement.

Publicis has made other recent takeovers, buying French data marketing company Soft Computing earlier this year and acquiring Czech firm Kindred Group last year.

Credit card and loyalty programs company Alliance Data Systems reported a bearish outlook for 2019 which hit its shares.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Piotr Lipinski; Editing by Alexander Smith