Omnicom, Publicis merger fell over 'equal' terms

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

PARIS (AP) — The CEO of Publicis Groupe says the planned deal with Omnicom to create the world's largest advertising firm collapsed over unresolvable differences over how to implement a "merger of equals."

Maurice Levy, the strong-willed head of Paris-based Publicis, said Friday it was not a question of a personality clash with John Wren, his counterpart at Omnicom Group, but rather a fundamental difference on balancing the leadership of the new firm. Levy said he was deeply disappointed that the deal worth more than $35 billion collapsed.

But, he said, "balance means balance."

The merger announced in July was intended to help the firms counter the growing clout of Internet giants such as Facebook and Google, which can bypass advertising companies altogether, as well as strengthen growth in Asia and Latin America.