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So much for $35bn ad giant! Omnicom-Publicis merger called off

omnicom-publicisAdvertising companies Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe have called off their $35 billion merger talks, due to “difficulties in completing the transaction within a reasonable timeframe”, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The companies had announced the merger in July last year after it was approved by board of directors of both the companies. The merger was expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013 or the first quarter of 2014. After the merger, the combined group would have had more than 130,000 employees.

Omnicom Chief Executive John Wren, told Reuters that there were a lot of complex issues that weren’t resolved. “There are strong corporate cultures in both companies that delayed us for reaching an agreement. There was no clear finish line in sight and uncertainty is never a good thing when you are in the personal service business,” he said.

“Prolonging the situation could have led to the diversion of the Group’s management from its principle function: to best serve our clients,” Publicis CEO Maurice Levy, said in a statement to the agency.

During the announcement of the merger talks, Publicis and Omnicom had said that the new group would be restructured and the CEOs of both the companies would lead the company as co-CEOs for 30 months. After this period, Maurice Lévy, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe would become non-executive chairman and John Wren, CEO of Omnicom would continue as CEO. The Publicis Omnicom Group would have had a single-tier board with 16 members. The combined entity would have traded under OMC ticker on the New York Stock Exchange and Euronext and the holding company would be based in Netherlands.

In India, the Publicis Omnicom Group would have included advertising agencies such as Publicis India, Publicis Capital, Publicis Ambience, Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, BBH India, StarcomMediaVest, Zenith Optimedia, Vivaki, TBWA, RK Swamy BBDO, DDB Mudra, BBDO India, Mudra Max, OMD and Proximity.

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It is worth noting that  Publicis Groupe has made eight acquisitions in India since mid-2012, with the most recent one being Delhi-based advertising and digital agency Law & Kenneth in February this year.

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