The $35 billion merger between Publicis and Omnicom has been called off. Despite getting the US antitrust greenlight which was apparently easier to get than the shareholders to play nice with each other, and for the two giant companies to agree on who the chief financial officer should be.
"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," Wren and Publicis CEO Maurice Levy said in a joint statement on Thursday. "We have thus jointly decided to proceed along our independent paths. We, of course, remain competitors, but maintain a great respect for one another."
A source, who needs to remain anonymous told Reuters that "big egos" were involved. No surprises there.
The crucial choice of CFO, a key position that would determine how the company would operate, hewing either to Publicis' centralized structure or Omnicom's less controlling approach to subsidiaries, had been a particular sticking point as the months dragged on.
As the companies struggled to keep the merger on track they had faced a fight to retain clients and talent.
Wren and Levy, celebrating the deal with champagne toasts in Paris last summer, said it would enable them to better compete with the likes of Google Inc and Facebook Inc which dominate digital advertising, which accounts for nearly a quarter of global marketing spending.
Maurice Levy said in a statement from Publicis:
The decision to discontinue the process was neither pleasant nor an easy one to make, but it was a necessary one," Mr. Levy said in a statement from Publicis. "Prolonging the situation could have led to the diversion of the Group's management from its principle function: to best serve our clients.
John Wren said in a statement from Omnicom.
I want to emphasize that while the proposed merger was time-consuming, we never took our eye off the ball in terms of what we needed to deliver for our clients, our people and our shareholders, and that has been reflected in our reported results. We're bullish on 2014.
Meanwhile, Martin Sorrell is laughing all the way to the bank as Shares of rivals WPP and Interpublic Group of Cos. have climbed 8.7% and 10.0%, respectively, since Publicis and Omnicom announced their proposed merger last July according to Ad Age
The cute little congratulatory billboard showing a marriage between King Kong and Godzilla made by Copacino + Fujikado might be able to be re-used, just run it with a big split down the middle, guys.
Back in happier times, when Publicis & Omnicom signed to become the Publicis Omnicom Group this was Vined.