The European Commission signed off on the pending merger between Publicis Groupe and Omnicom, further clearing the way for the creation of the industry’s largest holding company.
In late November, the two companies said completion of the merger could be pushed back to the second quarter of this year, from the first-quarter close originally planned when the transaction was announced last July. Investors were informed of the delay at a Morgan Stanley technology, media and telecom conference in Barcelona, and according to news reports, Publicis Groupe chief Maurice Lévy and Omnicom CEO John Wren blamed it on some pending regulatory approvals including those in the European Union and Russia.
Earlier that month, the companies said U.S. regulators wouldn’t oppose the merger after the expiration of the waiting period required under the federal pre-merger notification program established by the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act.
The companies said merger clearance has now been approved in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the Ukraine.
The transaction, however, is still subject to additional regulatory approvals, including merger control in China, registration of the deal with U.S. authorities and certain European securities regulators, stock exchange listings and approvals of both companies’ shareholders.