Advertising giants Omnicom Group Inc. (OMC) and Paris-based Publicis Groupe have called off their $35 billion “merger of equals,” as delays were starting to weigh on staff morale, customer confidence, and shareholder sentiment.
“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 and their employees, clients and shareholders,” the companies said in a joint statement released Thursday evening.
The deal had been challenged by battles over position and power, including difficulties in getting tax and other regulatory approvals, as well as differences over which company would be listed as the technical acquirer of the other, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
The megamerger would have created the world’s largest ad holding company by revenue, combining firms such as ad agencies as BBDO, Saatchi & Saatchi, DDB, Leo Burnett and TBWA as well as public-relations firms including FleishmanHillard and Ketchum, and digital ad agencies DigitasLBi and Razorfish.
In late-morning trading, OMC slips 0.3% at $65.98 and earlier traded as low as $65.66. It moves in a 52-week range of $59.70 and $76.87.
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