By Stephen Lepitak, -

July 28, 2013 | 3 min read

Publicis and Omnicom have confirmed that they are to merge to form a partnership of equals to create Publicis Omnicom Group, which will initially be led by John Wren and Maurice Levy as joint CEO’s, with Levy set to step back to a non-executive role following a 30 month period.

The new entity will merge revenue of $22.7bn and €17.7bn (Publicis) and $35.1bn / €26.5bn (Omnicom) and see it overtake WPP as the world’s largest advertising network group, although the overlap is still uncertain, however Wren revealed a figure of $6bn in Omnicom billings from shared clients during the press conference.

The resulting entity will move forward with a combined revenue of around $35.1 billion / €26.5 billion.

Shared clients include Procter & Gamble, L'oreal and McDonalds, while potential conflicts may transpire between Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Microsoft and Google and Verizon and AT&T.

The deal was unanimously approved by the board of directors with shareholders from each company holding exactly 50 per cent each.

The new entity will employ around 130,000 people and will include agencies such as BBDO, Saatchi & Saatchi, DDB, Leo Burnett, TBWA, Razorfish, Publicis Worldwide, Fleishman-Hillard, DigitasLBi, Ketchum, StarcomMediaVest, OMD, BBH, Interbrand, MSLGROUP, RAPP, Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG), Proximity, Rosetta, CDM, ZenithOptimedia and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, with no mergers between these having yet been announced.

John Wren, CEO of Omnicom, said in the statement: “Both Maurice and I believe this new company reflects our vision of retaining the best talent, attracting an incredible roster of clients and leading innovation. Omnicom and Publicis Groupe are reshaping the industry by setting a new standard for supporting clients with integrated messaging across marketing disciplines and geographies. This combination will enable us to leverage the skills of our exceptionally talented people, our broad product offering, enhanced global footprint, and tremendous roster of global and local clients. In short, we believe this is a merger that will set our new company on a path to accelerated growth, with long-term benefits for clients, employees and shareholders.”

Maurice Lévy, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe, 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 behavior. This evolution has created both great challenges and tremendous opportunities for clients. John and I have conceived this merger to benefit our clients by bringing together the most comprehensive offering of analog and digital services. Equally important, it will offer our talented people new avenues for growth and success at the crossroads of strategic intelligence, creativity, science and technology.”

Levy had previously told his board that he would retire on 31 December 2015, whether they had found a successor or not, with this merger concluding the search.

The first year will see Omnicom chairman Bruce Crawford, currently Omnicom chairman act as non-executive chairman of Publicis Omnicom Group, after which he will be succeeded by the current Publicis Groupe chairperson, Elisabeth Badinter, as non-executive chairperson for the second year.

The agreement is still subject to approval however from regulators and shareholders of both companies, although the company does intent to start trading simultaneously immediately.

The holding company will be registered in the Netherlands, but will retain Headquarters in New York and Paris.

Publicis Groupe Omnicom Maurice Levy

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