WPP’s Deal for Grey Faces Challenge

NEW YORK The closing of WPP Group’s deal to acquire Grey Global Group will be delayed because more information is needed to satisfy regulations in the European Union, the companies acknowledged.

Both WPP and Grey said they are in the process of providing additional information to the European Commission in compliance with merger regulations, but declined to specify the kind of material that is still needed.

The EC notified the companies about the need for more information on Nov. 22, WPP said.

No closing date was ever specified for WPP’s estimated $1.2 billion acquisition of Grey, but executives expected the deal to be completed by the end of this year. It will now likely conclude some time during the first quarter.

Nor has a deadline been specified as to when the EC needs to receive the additional information. Once it does, it will restart its review process of the purchase.

Neither WPP nor Grey Global would comment further.