Publicis, Paris, confirmed it's holding merger talks with Young & Rubicam, New York, but cautioned that an agreement on a marriage of the two networks is not imminent. Talks between Y&R and WPP Group, London, broke off May 1. Besides possible auto account conflict problems between Y&R and Publicis, two key financial issues have arisen. First, Publicis is currently not traded in a U.S. capital market, a situation that could pose regulatory hurdles for many of Y&R's institutional investor shareholders if a deal is struck involving shares in the French company. Second, the potential solution to this problem--floating shares on a U.S. market--would diminish the shareholding of the Bleustein-Blanchet family, Publicis' principal owner. Y&R's stock was down 3.87% late Tuesday afternoon to 48-1/8.
Copyright May 2000, Crain Communications Inc.