Publicis and Omnicom to join forces

In a bid to oust the four-year market dominance of British-based WPP, French and American firms Publicis and Omnicom have agreed to unite under one huge banner

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The competitors will now unite under the holding title Publicis Omnicom Group, and will hold dual headquarters in Paris and New York. The firm will be registered in the Netherlands for reasons of neutrality.

The unification brings together two of the top three firms currently vying for control over an increasingly cutthroat global communications market. As one firm, Publicis Omnicom will dominate the sector with a staff of 130,000 and an estimated stock market value of $35bn. The group’s portfolio will include advertising industry giants such as BBDO and Saatchi & Saatchi – which will now be simultaneously serving competitors like Apple, Samsung, Coca Cola and PepsiCo as clients.

Maurice Lévy, the Chairman and CEO of Publicis, maintained the merger was vital in order to survive the constantly evolving digital communications market.

“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 behaviour,” he said. “This evolution has created both great challenges and tremendous opportunities for clients.”

As the emerging titan begins to reshuffle its new corporate governance strategy, Lévy is set to take on the role of non-executive director, whilst Omnicom boss John Wren will continue on as the firm’s CEO. That said, the two bosses maintain the deal will create a corporate structure consistent with a merger of equals (both firms are valued at around $16bn).

Publicis Omnicom will face regulatory hurdles concerning monopolisation. The new firm has risen to unprecedented heights virtually overnight, and will now tower over current industry leader WPP’s corporate worth by 47 percent. That being said, the unification of Publicis and Omnicom should simultaneously serve to stabilise a communications market riddled with uncertainty.

“Omnicom and Publicis Groupe are reshaping the industry by setting a new standard for supporting clients with integrated messaging across marketing disciplines and geographies,” Wren said. “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.”