EU Approves WPP Acquisition of Grey Global Group

LOS ANGELES The European Union today said it has approved WPP Group’s proposed $1.2 billion acquisition of Grey Global Group, removing a major hurdle for completion of the highly anticipated deal.

The EU Commission concluded in a statement that “the merger would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.”

The EU initially declared the proposal last fall as “incomplete … as certain information in relation to the media buying sector had not been included.” [Adweek Online, Nov. 23].

“The commission carried out a wide-ranging and detailed investigation of the merger’s impact on competition in those countries whose markets were likely to be most affected,” the commission’s said, listing 14 nations, including Germany, about which the commission was particularly concerned. “The commission found that in all of these markets there were many strong competitors remaining and that therefore there was no risk that the creation of the new entity would bring about a significant impediment to competition in either the media buying or marketing communications sector in any of these countries.”

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