The entente cordiale between Omniconm and Publicis Groupe seems to be becoming less cordiale by the day as stories emerge that the two parties have fallen out over who should be the CFO, with Omnicom’s John Wren adamant his finance boss Randy Weisenberger should get the top job.
The two parties have already acknowledged that they have hit big problems over tax, with the original plan to be domiciled in The Netherlands (hardly their biggest market) with a tax residency in the UK falling foul of the authorities in those two countries and France.
Essentially this is a tax-saving deal and these aren’t popular at all with the likes of the UK’s HMRC these days. The merged Omnicom/Publicis would need to move a troop of tax-paying top execs to the UK, which wouldn’t suit either party.
Wren, in a recent conference call, said that there there was “no plan B” if the tax arrangements don’t work out. With the CFO and other issues bubbling away as well it’s looking as though adland’s biggest merger may never, actually, happen.
If that’s the case there will be a fair number of shareholders gunning for Wren and Publicis Groupe’s Maurice Levy; not to mention a gaggle of disgruntled clients.