Merger of Omnicom Group Inc. and Publicis Groupe SA called off

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

New York, NY, United States (4E) – Publicis Groupe SA and Omnicom Group Inc. said they will abandon their $35bn merger, due to challenges in completing the deal within a reasonable timeframe.

The tie-up had been challenged by disputes over position and power, including problems in getting tax and other regulatory approvals, according to people familiar with the discussions.

In a joint statement by Omnicom Chief Executive John Wren and Publicis Chairman Maurice Lévy, the two advertising giants said that challenges still need to be overcome, as well as the slow pace of progress, lead to some uncertainty detrimental to the interests of both companies.

The merger, initially announced in July and originally expected to be finalized by the end of 2013, was meant to make both companies more competitive against rivals from Silicon Valley such as Google Inc.

The transaction would have formed the world’s biggest ad holding company in terms of revenue, combining ad firms like Saatchi & Saatchi, BBDO, TBWA, DDB and Leo Burnett as well as PR agencies such as Ketchum and FleishmanHillard, and digital ad firms Razorfish and DigitasLBi.

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