Endless Scali merger talks hit a new series of bogs

The hot-and-cold merger talks to sell WPP Group PLC’s Scali, McCabe, Sloves network to Interpublic’s Lowe & Partners have cooled–some say gone cold– over what sources said are more personality issues and glitches in the due diligence process.
“The talks are on the downside but are not out,” said one source. “The chances now are less than 50% and diminishing.”
Well-placed sources said the latest trouble spot to surface is in Germany where Thomas Rempen, the ceo of Hildmann, Simon, Rempen & Schmitz/SMS Gmbh, SMS’s German office, is unhappy. Like SMS president and creative director Sam Scali in New York, Rempen is said to be less than thrilled with the role planned for him in the merged entity. One source speculated that his role would be to run separate Lowe and SMS agencies in Germany. IPG has long been interested in SMS for its international network.
Scali is said to be unhappy with the lack of authority he would have in New York should the SMS/Lowe deal become a reality.
With these two personality clashes unresolved, the issue of who will run the merged agencies has become a major sticking point for certain SMS executives.
But they aren’t the only glitches. “There were always problems with the deal and due diligence has turned up three or four more problems. But this process has been so up and down already, who knows what will happen?”
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