In response to WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell’s query about Publicis Groupe’s denial over talks to buy Interpublic, Maurice Levy, CEO, of Publicis has labelled Sorrell's comments as 'rubbish'.
Levy was moved to respond to comments made by Sorrell in relations to a denial which was issued as the result of a story run by the Financial Times, over a potential takeover of IPG by Publicis.
The denial read; “Following the speculations published by FT.com Alphaville and their resulting widespread publicity, Publicis Groupe denies having engaged in any discussions with Interpublic Group of Cos and confirms that it has not commissioned any bank to undertake any such discussions.”
While speaking to The Drum on Monday morning, WPP CEO Sorrell discussed the denial, stating that he “would challenge its veracity.”
Following the story, Levy contacted The Drum in response, run in full below;
“On August 6, you posted an article on the Drum website stating that “WPP CEO Sorrell 'challenges the veracity' of Publicis Groupe's denial over Interpublic acquisition talks“. I found the content of this article somewhat surprising. A clear statement had been issued by Publicis Groupe that very morning, firmly refuting any involvement or contact with IPG, either directly or indirectly.”
He continued; “I personally couldn’t care less about Martin Sorrell, and what he thinks or says about Publicis Groupe is always rubbish. If he is foolish enough to challenge the truth behind the official statement, that’s one thing, but I’m surprised by your decision to grant this preposterous position such importance by featuring it in the columns of your publication's website.”
As a result of the story running, which the Financial Times soon refuted with the statement; “Our usually knowledgeable sources turned out to be lacking on this occasion,” Interpublic saw its shares fall by 7.8 per cent.
Meanwhile, Publicis saw its stock rise less than one per cent to 41.03 euros.
Sir Martin Sorrell said of Levy's comments: "Maurice's typically articulate response fails to answer the implied question. Has he had talks with Roth and/or IPG or not?"