A $35 billion merger deal between advertising industry giants Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe has fallen apart, the companies announced Thursday night.
Ten months after announcing their proposed merger of equals, the companies said they were abandoning marriage plans due to "difficulties in completing the transaction within a reasonable time frame."
"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. We have thus jointly decided to proceed along our independent paths," said Paris-based Publicis CEO Maurice Lévy and New York-based Omnicom CEO John Wren in a joint statement.
The announcement said the parties released each other from all obligations, and no termination fee will be paid by either side.
Media reports Thursday — on the websites of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and others — said the deal fell apart due to a combination of management clashes, regulatory hurdles and unresolved tax issues.
Last year, the Omnicom-Publicis plan was billed as a merger of equals. The company was to be called Publicis Omnicom Group, led by Omnicom's Wren and Publicis' Lévy. They were to be co-chief executives, leading an advertising behemoth with 130,000 employees.
Omnicom's agencies include BBDO, TBWA and DDB. Publicis owns Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi.
If the merger had been done, The New York Times reported, many of the world's biggest corporate clients would have then been served by the same operating company. AT&T, Visa and Pepsi are Omnicom clients, The New York Times said, while McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Walmart work with Publicis.