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Omnicom, Publicis Subpoenaed In DOJ Production Investigation

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The Robert F. Kennedy Building in Washington, DC is the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Robert F. Kennedy Building in Washington, DC is the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Justice. Credit: Courtesy Department of Justice
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The Department of Justice investigation into production practices in the advertising industry is widening, as today Omnicom Group said two of its subsidiaries had been subpoenaed and Publicis Groupe said one of its subsidiaries received one.

"On Dec. 14, 2016, two subsidiaries within Omnicom Group received subpoenas from the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division concerning its ongoing investigation of video production and post-production practices in the advertising industry," Omnicom said on its website. "Omnicom's outside legal counsel has contacted representatives of the Antitrust Division and the company is fully cooperating with the investigation."

The company declined further comment and would not name the units being investigated. A spokesman for the DOJ also declined comment.

Hours later, Publicis issued this statement: "As part of the investigation led by the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division concerning video production and post-production practices in the advertising industry, one of the subsidiaries of Publicis Groupe received a subpoena dated Dec. 14, 2016. Publicis Groupe, supported by external counsel, will fully and productively collaborate with the investigation." The company did not name the subsidiary.

The double whammy comes just weeks after Interpublic Group of Cos. said one of its standalone domestic agencies was contacted by the DOJ Antitrust Division regarding production practices. It, too, said it was cooperating with the government and declined to disclose which domestic agency is being reviewed.

"The policies in our company's Code of Conduct require that we do business in a manner that is fully consistent with the best interests of our clients -- in the case of production, that means requiring triple bids on all projects above a minimal dollar threshold," the statement reads, adding that IPG holds itself to "the highest standards of ethics and transparency."

Still silent is the world's largest holding company, WPP, which to date declines to comment on whether it has been contacted in the investigation.

Note: This article has been updated with the Publicis news.

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