Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe have announced that they have signed a definitive agreement for a merger of equals, creating the world’s leading company in communications, advertising, marketing and digital services, with combined 2012 revenue of $22.7 billion (€17.7 billion).
Based on closing prices on July 26, 2013, Publicis Omnicom Group will have a combined equity market capitalization of approximately $35.1 billion (€26.5 billion). The merged group of more than 130,000 employees will be exceptionally well positioned to serve clients’ evolving needs, helping them to build their brands and grow their businesses in the rapidly changing communications landscape.
The combination, which has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, brings together the most extensive portfolio of best-in-class agencies offering clients the industry’s leading talent across disciplines and geographies.
Publicis Omnicom Group will include such iconic agency brands as BBDO, Saatchi & Saatchi, DDB, Leo Burnett, TBWA, Razorfish, Publicis Worldwide, Fleishman-Hillard, DigitasLBi, Ketchum, StarcomMediaVest, OMD, BBH, Interbrand, MSLGROUP, RAPP, Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG), Proximity, Rosetta, ZenithOptimedia and Goodby Silverstein & Partners, to name just a few.
Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe, said:
The communication and marketing landscape has undergone dramatic changes in recent years including the exponential development of new media giants, the explosion of Big Data, blurring of the roles of all players and profound changes in consumer behavior. This evolution has created both great challenges and tremendous opportunities for clients. John and I have conceived this merger to benefit our clients by bringing together the most comprehensive offering of analog and digital services. Equally important, it will offer our talented people new avenues for growth and success at the crossroads of strategic intelligence, creativity, science and technology.
Both Maurice and I believe this new company reflects our vision of retaining the best talent, attracting an incredible roster of clients and leading innovation. Omnicom and Publicis Groupe are reshaping the industry by setting a new standard for supporting clients with integrated messaging across marketing disciplines and geographies. This combination will enable us to leverage the skills of our exceptionally talented people, our broad product offering, enhanced global footprint, and tremendous roster of global and local clients. In short, we believe this is a merger that will set our new company on a path to accelerated growth, with long-term benefits for clients, employees and shareholders.
Mr. Wren & Mr. Lévy said jointly: “For many years, we have had great respect for one another as well as for the companies we each lead. This respect has grown in the past few months as we have worked to make this combination a reality. We look forward to co-leading the combined company and are excited about what our people can achieve together for our clients and our shareholders.”
Publicis Omnicom Group has been structured with balanced corporate governance consistent with the spirit of a merger of equals. Publicis Groupe and Omnicom’s CEOs will lead the company as co-CEOs through an initial integration and development period of 30 months, following which Mr. Lévy will become non-executive Chairman and Mr. Wren will continue as CEO.
The company will have a single-tier board with 16 members, consisting of the two co-CEOs and seven non-executive directors from each company.
For the first year following the closing of the transaction, Bruce Crawford, currently Omnicom Chairman, will be the non-executive Chairman of Publicis Omnicom Group. He will be succeeded by the current Publicis Groupe Chairperson, Elisabeth Badinter, as non-executive Chairperson for the second year following the closing of the transaction.
The transaction is expected to create significant value for shareholders. The new company’s broader portfolio of agencies and services and deeper geographic footprint will allow the combined company to accelerate revenue growth and create operating synergies. The future scalability and internal synergies of the combined company are expected to generate efficiencies of $500 million (€377 million).
The transaction is a cross-border merger of equals under a holding company, Publicis Omnicom Group, in The Netherlands. The Group’s operational head offices will continue to be based in Paris and New York.
The merger is expected to be tax-free to the shareholders of both companies. The transaction has been structured so that the shareholders of Publicis Groupe and Omnicom, after special dividends, will each hold approximately 50% of the equity of Publicis Omnicom Group.
Publicis Groupe shareholders will receive one newly issued ordinary share of Publicis Omnicom Group for each Publicis Groupe share they own, together with a special dividend of €1.00 per share.
Omnicom shareholders will receive 0.813 newly issued ordinary shares of Publicis Omnicom Group for each Omnicom share they own, together with a special dividend of$2.00 per share.
In addition, Omnicom shareholders will receive up to two regular quarterly dividends of $0.40 per share if declared and the record date occurs prior to closing.
Ms. Badinter and family members as well as Mr. Lévy have entered into agreements in support of the merger, as have Mr. Wren, Mr. Crawford, and Mr. Randall Weisenburger, Omnicom’s CFO.
The transaction is subject to approval by the shareholders of both companies as well as numerous regulatory approvals. It is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013 or the first quarter of 2014. Publicis Groupe and Omnicom have expressed the desire to have their shares start trading simultaneously on the day of announcement. As a consequence and because of the time difference, Publicis Groupe has asked Euronext Paris to postpone the trading of its shares to 9.30am New York time (3.30pm Paris time).
Moelis & Company is financial advisor to Omnicom on the transaction. Rothschild is acting as financial advisor to Publicis Groupe. Legal advisors to Omnicom are Latham & Watkins LLP and De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek N.V. Legal advisors to Publicis Groupe are Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier; and NautaDulith N.V. Jones Day provided counsel to Moelis & Company.