Ad agencies Omnicom and Publicis scrap merger

Publicis chairman Maurice Lévy and Omnicom president John Wren

Omnicom and Publicis have confirmed they are putting a halt to the merger that would have made them the world’s biggest advertising company.

In this country the merger would have affected creative agencies DDB, .99, Saatchi & Saatchi, Colenso BBDO/Proximity NZ, TouchCAST, Clemenger BBDO and TBWA\Whybin.

Media companies with Omnicom shareholding include OMD, SparkPHD and Dynamo, while Publicis owns both Starcom and Zenith Optimedia.

In a joint statement Publicis chairman Maurice Lévy and Omnicom president John Wren said difficulties arose in completing the transaction within a reasonable timeframe.

"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," they said.

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

The parties released from each other all obligations and there will be no break-up fee.

When the deal was announced last July, Association of New Zealand Advertisers chief executive Lindsay Mouat warned that multinational clients may move where potential conflicts arise.

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