Omnicom/Publicis mega-merger collapses

The proposed merger between marketing groups Omnicom and Publicis, which would have created the world’s largest network, has been scrapped.

Maurice Lévy of Publicis and John Wren of Omnicom
Maurice Lévy of Publicis and John Wren of Omnicom

The deal, which was first proposed last year, would have created a group with revenues of around £15 billion and equity of £23 billion. It would have seen WPP, which has an equity of around £13 billion, knocked off its perch as the world’s largest marketing network.

The deal would also have brought together design consultancies including Interbrand, Wolff Olins, DigitasLBi and Poke into one network. We examined its potential ramifications for the design industry here.

However, Omnicom and Publicis have now called off the deal, ‘in view of difficulties in completing the transaction within a reasonable timeframe’. There are understood to have been issues around the complex tax structure and the firm’s divergent cultures.

In a joint statement, Maurice Lévy, chairman and chief executive of Publicis Groupe, and John Wren, president and chief executive of Omnicom Group, said, ‘The challenges that still remained to be overcome, in addition to the slow pace of progress, created a level of uncertainty detrimental to the interests of both groups and their employees, clients and shareholders.

‘We have thus jointly decided to proceed along our independent paths. We, of course, remain competitors, but maintain a great respect for one another.’

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