Adbrands Weekly Update 28th Nov 2013:
Top management from all the major marketing groups were in Barcelona for Morgan Stanley's annual technology, media & telecoms conference. Publicis CEO Maurice Levy and Omnicom counterpart John Wren warned that completion of their mammoth merger could be pushed back to 2Q next year, from its
original target of
Q1, as a result of regulatory hold-ups in Russia and the EU. "However we'll close certainly in the first half," said Wren, "and as early as we can." Although both men played up the positives on the merger, rival leaders clearly see opportunities in fallout from the deal.
Dentsu EVP Tim Andree said his group had already picked up business from disgruntled POG clients who "don't understand the benefit for them". According to Interpublic's Michael Roth, "Clients say, 'We're not sure what this transaction means to us, we'll wait and see.
When you have companies of that size coming together there's bound to be disruption. We've got to make sure we position ourselves because that creates opportunities for our competitors also." WPP's Martin Sorrell is the most feared of these predators, but he suggested that staff were
just as high as clients on his agenda. Forecasting "a considerable move of executives to our company," he added, "there's a lot of movement in the industry and this sort of movement stimulates it further." He suggested to an interviewer from Bloomberg that tax implications might have played a key part in
motivating Publicis to do the deal, because of the potential benefits of "just getting out of France, getting the fiscal benefits of being in Amsterdam", where the merged group will be headquartered.
Adbrands Weekly Update 7th Nov 2013:
The Omnicom Publicis merger reached a significant milestone this week when the deadline for any objection by US regulators passed without incident, providing an implicit green light. The two marketing giants confirmed that regulators in Canada, India and Turkey have also given their
approval for the merger.
Adbrands Weekly Update 17th Oct 2013:
Publicis Groupe doesn't publish profitability for 3Q, but revenues grew 3.5% organic to E1.68bn. Unlike Omnicom, that was below analysts' expectations of around 4%, though CEO Maurice Levy claimed it was in line with internal forecasts. Europe delivered a combined 0.4% lift, powered by the UK, which was up 7.1%, and Poland, which jumped over 14%. North America rose 4.5% but developing markets, including Brazil, Russia, China and
other countries, edged up by a disappointing 1.5%. Levy also spent much of the announcement answering questions about the merger. He said the clearance process was going smoothly so far, with antitrust filings all submitted and a green light already received in South Africa and Korea. "I don't anticipate any major
issues The hard work is behind us. Now it's just a process that we have to follow cautiously. I'm optimistic, based on the opinions of lawyers and economists who've worked on market share issues." Both groups anticipate completion of the merger in 1Q 2014.
Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Aug 2013: Maurice Levy just can't stop buying companies. With the Publicis Omnicom deal still awaiting a green light from regulators and shareholders, he's pushed ahead with another acquisition, snapping up US digital
marketer Enguage for an undisclosed sum. The business is to be merged with Moxie, the digital content business which already sits within
Publicis' ZenithOptimedia network. The new name of the combined business hasn't been confirmed; currently it's billed as
MoxieEnguage. It's one of
several timely reminders this week of Levy's usual merger strategy. Despite his recent denial that there are any plans to merge the six creative networks that would fall under the umbrella of a merged Publicis Omnicom Group, the French group certainly has plenty of form at melding together separate creative brands, most recently with the creation of a single
network. Similarly, it plans later this month to merge Pixelpark, the German digital agency acquired last year, with the local arm of Publicis Worldwide. Also this week, the separate South Korean outposts of Publicis Worldwide and Leo Burnett are also being combined in a manner similar to the merged
Saatchi/Burnett/Publicis entity that already operates in Japan under the Beacon Communications name. The most wide-reaching consolidation executed by Levy was of course the elimination of the old D'Arcy network, absorbed in 2002 into the group's three other advertising businesses. Let's face it: how
else is he going to achieve that $500m of "synergies" promised by the creation of
Pubnicom. So get ready for BBDOSaatchi, PublicisDDB and Leo Burnett TBWA...
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