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Omnicom is up as former merger partner Publicis falls

It’s not that long ago that Omnicom and Publicis Groupe were trying to arrange a $35bn merger. Perhaps it’s just as well they failed because the two giant companies seem to occupying not just different domiciles but different universes.

Publicis Groupe announced lousy first half figures the other day while Omnicom, US-based as opposed to PG in France, has announced strong second quarter figures including US revenue up 7.8 per cent with international up 4.9 per cent. Organic revenue across the piece, the key measure, rose 5.8 per cent.

Unknown-5PG, on the other hand, showed virtually no organic growth with boss Maurice Levy blaming a multitude of factors (including the merger talks). He also said international markets were slowing, which doesn’t seem to be the case for John Wren (left) and Omnicom.

Omnicom and PG have pursued different strategies in recent years although there’s a big overlap as they both own thousands of companies covering all sectors.

Omnicom has stuck to its big agency guns, refusing to enter the race for any digital asset going. It declined digital cum tech agency LBi, leaving the field to PG which shelled out $540m 18 months ago only to merge the agency with its own Digitas a few months later. This looked a bit odd as, presumably, there was a fair amount of ‘goodwill’ – supposed brand value – in that $540m. Levy says he’s sticking to his digital strategy.

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It will be interesting to see what Sir Martin Sorrell’s WPP announces in due course. Sorrell is just as keen on digital as Levy although some of his agencies, notably Ogilvy and Grey, are also doing well and providing the lion’s share of profits.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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