POG Merger Closing May Be Delayed

The POG merger may not close as soon as Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe had initially anticipated.

The $35.1 billion combination will now close by mid-2014, according to John Wren, CEO of Omnicom.

Reuters quoted Wren on the possible delay. Wren spoke at a Morgan Stanley conference in Barcelona on Thursday. "We'll close certainly in the first half and as early as we can," the news agency quoted Wren as saying.

When the merger was first disclosed last July, Omnicom and Publicis said they expected to close the deal by the fourth quarter of this year or in the first quarter of 2014.

Part of the potential hold-up may be regulatory approvals. While the U.S. has signaled that it won’t challenge the deal, approvals are still being contemplated by the European Union and Russia, according to the Reuters report.

The merger partners confirmed on Nov. 1 that the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act had expired, meaning that the U.S. government would not challenge the merger.



The companies also earlier confirmed receipt of approvals from regulatory authorities in Canada, India, and Turkey. Those clearances followed previously disclosed approvals in South Africa and South Korea.

In addition to the remaining regulatory approvals required, the deal must be blessed by shareholders of both companies.

The deal, announced in July, is also the subject of a class-action lawsuit by a number of Omnicom shareholders who filed claims in New York, arguing that they are not being compensated adequately.

Several lawsuits have been consolidated into one case and earlier this month the New York State Supreme Court ruled that an amended consolidated complaint can be filed three weeks after Omnicom and Publicis file a preliminary proxy with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That proxy has not yet been filed. 

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