Sunday, July 28, 2013
Reports: Ad giants Omnicom, Publicis in talksWLOX.com
Omnicom and Publicis are close to striking a deal that would combine the two advertising giants into the world's largest advertising firm, according to media reports.
Such a merger would create a firm with a market value of more than $30 billion, surpassing London-based industry leader WPP PLC. A combined firm would allow for more pricing power, though the decrease in competition could present regulatory hurdles in the U.S. and Europe. Client conflicts also could arise.
Omnicom Group Inc., based in New York, owns BBDO Worldwide, DDB Worldwide Communications Group and TBWA Worldwide, among other agencies. Paris-based Publicis Groupe SA runs its namesake agency as well as Leo Burnett Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi and DigitasLBi.
An announcement is expected Sunday at Publicis' headquarters.
The possible merger would bolster both company's relatively weak presence in emerging markets, where they trail WPP, says James Dix, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, in an interview Saturday. It also would give Publicis, which is facing questions about who will succeed 71-year-old CEO Maurice Levy, access to Omnicom's well-regarded senior leadership, he said.
A major concern, though, is whether the two companies can strike a harmonious balance of power - something that can be difficult in mergers of similar-sized companies based in different countries.
"You have these fiefdoms that keep people from playing together. One company is based in Paris, one is in New York. Where is the power center?" Dix said.
Dix expects that top executives are comfortable with the structure of the deal, but the adjustment may be more difficult for the next level of executives who run the firms' units.
"Now they have to fit together into a broader organization," Dix said. "If you lose clients or have defections of senior executives then you have something that looked good on paper but didn't quite play out."
Spokespeople for Omnicom and Publicis couldn't immediately be reached for comment on Saturday. Bloomberg News first reported the talks aftermarket on Friday, citing an unnamed person familiar with the deal.
Lance Armstrong, the disgraced cyclist at the center of the upcoming documentary "The Armstrong Lie." (Joel Saget/AFP)
Filmmaker Alex Gibney’s Lance Armstrong documentary isn’t exactly going to be the comeback story the cyclist first imagined.
Produced by Sony Pictures and now set to come out later this year from Sony Pictures Classics, Gibney’s film will be called “The Armstrong Lie,” Sony said Wednesday.
"We set out to make a movie about a comeback — with unlimited and unprecedented access to Armstrong and the inner workings of the Tour de France. Along the way, we ended up chronicling the collapse of one of the greatest myths and legends of our time,” producers Matt Tolmach and Frank Marshall said in a statement.
PHOTOS: Lance Armstrong through the years
Sony and Armstrong have a long relationship. For years, the studio developed a movie based on the cyclist's 2000 memoir, "It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life," which chronicled Armstrong's recovery from metastasized testicular cancer to his first Tour de France victory in 1999.
In 2009, Sony shifted gears, saying it would finance a documentary about the cyclist’s return from retirement, following him as he competed in that year’s Tour de France. Armstrong finished third, with worse news around the corner.
Last year, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency charged Armstrong with using performance-enhancing drugs. Armstrong was banned from the sport and stripped of his seven Tour de France wins between 1999 and 2005.
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In the middle of production on the documentary, Gibney (whose most recent film is “We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks”) made a prophetic comment about how Armstrong, who tried to destroy people who accused him of cheating, protected his image.
"Maybe the most daunting part of telling this story is that Lance is so very good at telling his own story," Gibney said at the time. "There are levels within levels. He's a masterful producer-director of his own myth."