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US/France: Mega-merger fashions $35B advertising titan

 |  July 29, 2013

Two of the world’s largest advertising firms have inked a deal to merge, resulting in a conglomerate with the globe’s most expansive family of ad agencies worth $35.1 billion. New York-based Omnicom and Paris-based Publicis announced the deal last Sunday. If cleared by antitrust regulators within the US and Europe as well as the French government, the new company would surpass the size of current market leader WPP, based in London.

The deal will likely face intense review from antitrust regulators, say reports, as well as opposition from corporate consumers concerned about the power of the combined company. American Antitrust Institute president Bert Foer told reporters the deal risks being blocked in the US, as the merger would place the new firm in a “unique” position of influence in the entire advertising industry.

Reports say the deal is designed as a merger between two equal-sized companies, despite Omnicom being slightly larger. The combined company is to be named Publicis Omnicom group, headed by co-chief executives John Wren of Omnicom and Maruice Levy of Publicis. Reports say, however, that after 30 months Wren would become sole chief executive. Together the companies hold a roster including clients like AT&T, Visa, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola.

Full Content: Boston Globe and Bloomberg

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