Publicis and Omnicom are to merge to form the world's largest marcoms network, with a combined staff of 130,000 and a market value of $35.1 billion. The move pushes WPP to second place in the ranking.
Following the merger, New York-based Omnicom and Paris-based Publicis Groupe will be known as Publicis Omnicom Group and jointly led by Publicis' Maurice Lévy and his Omnicom counterpart John Wren as Co-CEOs. After a period of integration, Lévy will become non-executive Chairman.
Omnicom has a research/insights portfolio which includes brand and communications research specialist Hall & Partners; UK-based qual research agency, Flamingo; data and analytics firm Annalect; advanced analytics firm The Modellers and online community specialist Communispace; data and analytics agency Targetbase Claydon Heeley; and trend forecasting firm sparks & honey.
Publicis' portfolio of 1,283 agencies also includes a number of data-focused companies such as pharmaceutical and healthcare customer insight agency, In-Sync; competitive intelligence specialist AG2; mobile and social media data analytics measurement firm CRM365; and digital marketing agency LBi. Earlier this month, the group made a $15m investment in technology start-up Jana Mobile, which rewards consumers with mobile airtime in return for taking surveys and trying out new products.
Commenting in a statement on the reasons behind the deal, Lévy said: 'The communication and marketing landscape has undergone dramatic changes in recent years including the exponential development of new media giants, the explosion of big data, blurring of the roles of all players and profound changes in consumer behaviour. John and I have conceived this merger to benefit our clients by bringing together the most comprehensive offering of analog and digital services.'
Publicis and Omnicom shareholders will each hold approximately 50% of the new company's equity. Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell questioned the value of the deal for Omnicom's shareholders, given that Publicis 2012 revenue was $8 billion, compared with Omnicom's figure of $14 billion. While describing the news as 'brave and surprising', Sorrell also warned about future problems resulting from clients not having been 'properly consulted' prior to the announcement.
The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013 or early 2014.
Web sites: www.omnicomgroup.com .
All articles 2006-23 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.