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Publicis, Omnicom call off $35 bn ‘merger of equals’

MUMBAI: Advertising majors Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe have terminated their proposed merger of equals by mutual agreement.

In a joint statement, the two companies said that the merger, valued at $35 billion, is terminated “in view of difficulties” in completing the transaction within a reasonable timeframe.

The parties have released each other from all obligations with respect to the proposed transaction, and no termination fees will be payable by either party.

Publicis Group chairman & CEO Maurice Lévy and Omnicom Group president & CEO John Wren said in the joint statement: “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. 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 merger was announced in July last year and was originally expected to close by the end of 2013. It would have created the world’s largest ad company by revenue. The holding company would have been home of Leo Burnett, TBWA, BBDO, Saatchi & Saatchi, DDB amongst others along with competing clients.

This decision was unanimously approved by the management board and the supervisory board of Publicis Groupe and the board of directors of Omnicom.