The merger of Publicis and Omnicom to create the world's largest marketing services networkhas fallen through due to the protracted process in agreeing the deal.
In a joint statement, co-CEOs, Maurice Levy and John Wren, said: "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, their employees, clients and shareholders. We have this jointly decided to proceed upon our independent paths. We of course remain competitors, but have great respect for one another."
The resulting entity would have operated with a combined revenue of around $35.1 billion / €26.5 billion, with Levy stepping down as Co-CEO after 30 months.
The decision to abandon the deal was unanimously agreed by the board of directors of both companies, the statement added.
Last month, it was reported that tax issues in Europe were causing delays to the deal, while decisions over who would fill different senior positions had also caused relations to fray.
Keith Hunt, managing partner at Results International, told The Drum that this could be good for the independent agency sector.
"Probably outside of Publicis and Omnicom, most people will think it's good for them. When the merger was announced, a lot of people were forecasting client fallout from clients who felt they had conflict between the two different groups or felt that it would be too big to service them properly. People were forcasting the fallout of people who became disolusioned, career paths were blocked and that sort of thing. There will be winners and losers," Hunt added.
A press conference has been called for this morning to discuss the collapse of the deal.