Merger set to propel Publicis Omnicom Group to Australia’s top spending media buying point

publicis omnicom logosGlobal agency holding groups Omnicom and Publicis are to merge in a move which would take the separate operations from Australia’s third and fourth biggest media buying points to the largest.

The move to create Publicis Omnicom Group was announced on Sunday night, Australian time. At a global level, Omnicom CEO John Wren and Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy will initially be joint bosses. After two-and-a-half years Wren will be CEO and Levy chairman.

Omnicom’s media agencies OMD and PHD have an estimated spend on behalf of clients of nearly $1.5bn, while Publicis Group’s Starcom and ZO account for about $1.3bn.

The combined spend of about $2.8bn would put the new entity ahead of WPP’s Group M agencies of Mediacom, Mindshare, MEC and Maxus which together have an estimated spend of about $2bn.

(It should be noted that numbers vary depending which methodology is used – RECMA estimates as used above tend to be higher than Nielsen’s annual agency billings which are unable to account for digital spend.)

Meanwhile, the deal would push Dentsu – which includes Mitchells, Vizeum and Carat and accounts for about $1.7bn – down to third.

Group trading is becoming an increasingly important part of the media buying dynamic. The last five years or so has seen agencies move from individual negotiations with media outlets to agreeing a group price based on volume of spend. The new arrangement will create a major upset of the pecking order, which currently sees WPP’s Group M agencies as the biggest gorilla, with Danny Bass about to take the helm from James Parkinson.

The deal could take six months to be finalised. Both companies also own a string of Australian agencies in the advertising, digital and PR sectors:


  • Omnicom – DDB, Clemenger BBDO, Whybin\TBWA
  • Publicis – Saatchi & Saatchi, Publicis Mojo, Leo Burnett


  • Omnicom – Tequila, Pro=ximity
  • Publicis – VivaKi, Razorfish


  • Publicis – Reputation (affiliated)
  • Omnicom – Fleishman-Hillard, Porter Novelli, Mango

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