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EU to approve Omnicom, Publicis deal without conditions - sources

BRUSSELS, Dec 17 (Reuters) - European Union antitrust regulators are set to approve the $35.1 billion merger of U.S. advertising agency Omnicom and French peer Publicis without conditions, two people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The deal would create the world's biggest advertising agency and help it to compete better with internet-based rivals. Omnicom currently ranks as the world's second-largest advertising agency, behind WPP. Publicis is in third place.

"The European Commission will clear the merger unconditionally," one of the people said.

The EU competition authority has set a Jan. 9 deadline for its decision.