Publicis, Omnicom merger gets US antitrust green light

Reuters

PARIS, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Advertising groups Publicis and Omnicom received no objections from U.S.antitrust authorities for their proposed merger, they said onFriday, taking them a step closer to creating a new worldleading player.

The deal combines the world's No. 2 agency, Omnicom, withNo. 3, Publicis. The companies have previously expressedconfidence that the transaction will be allowed to go ahead.

The two firms said in a statement the US' Hart-Scott-RodinoAntitrust review had expired without any challenge and themerger had also received regulatory approvals in Canada, India,Turkey, South Africa and South Korea.

"The merger is also conditional on getting other regulatoryauthorisations and the approval of the shareholders of the twogroups," the firms said.

The jumbo deal is rare among the world's "Big Six"advertising groups, which have spent the past few years buyingup much smaller targets in emerging markets and among Webmarketing specialists.

If completed, it will shift focus to those left standingalone, such as current leader WPP, U.S.-basedInterpublic, France's Havas and Japan's Dentsu.

Publicis shares were up 0.55 percent on Friday outperformingthe CAC-40 equity index.

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