Ad titans’ $35bn mega-merger finally crumbles

Oliver Smith
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ADVERTISING giants Publicis and Omnicom’s $35bn (£20.8bn) merger has reportedly fallen apart due to regulatory troubles, tax status and infighting.

First announced with great fanfare in July last year, with Omnicom’s John Wren saying the “stars had aligned” because of Publicis’ growth in recent years, the mega-merger had an original closing date of December 2013.

As late as last month both firms had yet to receive approval to base their tax residency in Britain while they wrestled with issues including who the finance chief of the group would be and which firm will be listed as the buyer from an accounting standpoint, on filings. The Wall Street Journal last night said these issues led to the collapse.

Meanwhile analysts noted in recent months that the expected synergies of a deal between the advertising titans was said to be declining as the marketing landscape changed around them.

“Growth in the faster growing markets (which is where Publicis has an advantage over Omnicom) has slowed, and (conversely) the ‘slower’ growth markets of the US and the UK (where Omnicom is stronger) are now some of the fastest growing areas,” said Liberum’s Ian Whittaker.