PARIS, July 28 The head of French advertising
agency Havas on Sunday questioned the logic of a
planned merger between larger global rivals Publicis
and Omnicom, saying it was not in the best interests of
clients or staff.
The world's second- and third-largest ad groups are expected
to unveil a plan to merge to overtake current leader WPP
, a source familiar with the situation has said. Publicis
has called a news conference for 1200 GMT on Sunday.
"I'm not sure this is in the best interests of their clients
or their talent," Havas chief executive David Jones said in a
statement. "Clients today want us to be faster, more agile, more
nimble and more entrepreneurial, not bigger and more
bureaucratic and more complex."
Publicis and Omnicom have so far not commented on whether
they do intend to merge and what the rationale would be. The
combined group would have a market capitalisation of around $30
billion and annual sales of around $23 billion.
The deal would reshape the advertising industry's big
players when the growth of internet marketing is leading to
rapid changes in how companies sell products and control their
"It's a massively interesting and surprising move," Jones
said. "The industry's obsession with mergers and acquisitions
still amazes me particularly in a world where digital and
technology have made scale irrelevant."
The CEO pointed to Instagram and Facebook as examples
of companies that operate with slim staffing but have vast
numbers of clients.
"Our business is very simple - it's about clients and
talented employees - and as I said, I'm not sure this move is
good for either of them," Havas' Jones said.
Havas has a market capitalisation of around 2.1 billion
euros ($2.79 billion) and sales in 2012 were 1.8 billion euros.
Omnicom had a market capitalisation of $16.8 billion at the
close of trading on Friday, while Publicis was valued at 12.5
Publicis CEO Maurice Levy has turned Publicis into a global
force during his 26 year tenure largely through savvy
deal-making and a prescient push into internet and digital