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Omnicom emerges as potential LBi suitor - but don't rule out Interpublic

Could Omnicom be in the hunt for LBi?

Omnicom Media Group has emerged as the first contender to buy LBi - a day after the digital agency confirmed it was in talks with potential suitors.

According to reports, Omnicom is in talks to buy the digital marketing agency for a sum which could top the $540m rival group WPP paid for AKQA last week.

Yesterday LBi confirmed that it had "commenced initial discussions with third parties" over a sale but declined to say who it was talking to and insisted it had not yet received an offer.

The Drum asked Green Square partner Tony Walford, a media finance expert who tipped LBi for acquisition last week, whether an Omnicom bid for LBi seemed realistic and which other groups might be interested.

He said: "Omnicom could benefit from the scale that LBi would bring in the digital arena and the level of coverage and client servicing ability it would bring to Omnicom alongside its more traditional advertising offering.

"I wouldn't rule out Interpublic either - it has been very acquisitive of late, but generally more in filling digital skill set gaps within its existing agencies rather than making an overall big digital acquisition."

But Walford said one marketing giant not likely to be involved in any bid is Publicis, which bought US digital agency Rosetta for $575m last May.

"It would make sense given that Publicis already owns Rosetta for Publicis not to be heavily involved in this one," he said.

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