Is WPP rattled by the Publicis-Omnicom merger?

The recent announcement of the Publicis-Omnicom merger will create the largest advertising firm in the world, knocking WPP from the top spot. From the statements we’re hearing, WPP is more than a little miffed.

Here’s a look at this overly-defensive press release sent by Dominic Proctor, global president of GroupM, which is WPP’s media buying arm.

“This is an
interesting move,” Proctor said.  “They are making it clear that a primary
motive for the merger is achieving scale in media buying.  However,
neither Omnicom nor Publicis was able to bring their investment teams together
effectively as individual companies, so it will be fun to see if they can now
do it together.  Getting scale in media investment management is critical
for clients, but it only works if it all joins up.  We welcome a
competitor in this space.  Media investment management relies heavily on
scale, but scale counts for nothing if it continues to be disparate.”

Then there’s WPP CEO Martin Sorrell challenging the new advertising behemoth to work cohesively. Here he is speaking to USA Today:

“It’s an extremely bold, brave and surprising move,” said WPP CEO Martin Sorrell in a statement. “It’s a great deal for Publicis. … Time will tell if the cultures will click and whether clients and talent benefit.”

Sorrell also noted that “co-CEOs is not an easy structure.”

The competition doth protest too much, methinks.



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