The new company plans to establish its headquarters in the EU --
in the Netherlands -- if the deal goes ahead as planned in the
second quarter of 2014. The official reason given for choosing the
Netherlands is the country's "neutrality," but it is also known for
offering significant tax advantages.
Publicis and Omnicom are still waiting to
hear from Chinese regulators, among others, before the deal can be
finalized. Maurice Levy, Publicis Groupe chairman and CEO, told the
media on a visit to Mumbai in December that he is anticipating a
positive decision from China by mid-January, and from Colombia by
the end of January, with other remaining territories to follow soon
Canada, India, Turkey, South Africa and South Korea are among
the countries that have already approved the merger.
The EC decision was taken relatively quickly -- documents were
only submitted in mid-December. Dominic Lyle, director general of
the European Communication of Communications Agencies, explained
that executives from both groups had been in discussion for months
beforehand with the EU to ensure that when the documentation was
submitted, it contained everything necessary for a speedy
Mr. Levy is thought to have secured the blessing of the
government in France, where Publicis Groupe is a dominant player,
even before the merger was announced. He said at the press
conference in July, "We don't expect that the French government
will have anything other than great support."
The EC statement added, "The bidding nature of the markets, the
presence of other large competitors, the relatively low barriers to
entry, and the significant countervailing power of media vendors
will ensure a level playing field in all the affected markets after
In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission anti-trust authorities
granted approval back in
When the deal was first announced in
July 2013, Mr. Levy and Omnicom Group CEO John Wren had hoped
that it would be finalized by the first quarter of the year. Mr.
Wren said at the time, "The process to get the deal through will
take a bit of time but our advisors have not flown any red
Mr. Levy and Mr. Wren will run the combined business as joint
CEOs for the first 30 months. The new group will combine some of
the world's biggest advertising and media brands, including
DDB, Saatchi & Saatchi, BBDO, TBWA, Leo Burnett, ZenithOptimedia and Starcom MediaVest.