Omnicom renews merger efforts

Omnicom is looking to create a pan-European media operation out of the merged media departments of its DDB Needham Worldwide and BBDO Worldwide networks.

Senior Omnicom figures, including BBDO Worldwide chairman Allen Rosenshine, want to secure agreement from its six principal European markets on a merged media operation. The key markets are the UK, Holland, Spain, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Omnicom is understood to have a timetable for getting agreement by the new year.

The difficulty for Omnicom in the UK is that it cannot pressure Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO into such a merger as it owns only 27 per cent of the agency. However, AMV is believed to support the idea, whereas BMP DDB Needham is opposed.

“The opportunity exists to create a very powerful media brand that might be missed if it doesn’t move soon,” says a senior Omnicom agency source in the UK.

“There is a clear will within Omnicom to make this happen,” he adds, “but it doesn’t take account of local realities.

“The assumption within Omnicom – where it is a treasured idea – is that it is happening. But if it does go ahead in the UK, it will only be because BMP and AMV decide to do so themselves.”

WPP, whose agencies Ogilvy & Mather and J Walter Thompson partner the two Omnicom networks in The Media Partnership in Europe, is aware of Omnicom’s plans and WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell is considering his best move.

WPP is known to be considering three options: forming WPP media out of JWT and O&M’s media departments; joining “Omnicom Media” in TMP, or continuing with the WPP status quo. It is thought that any decision will be left to WPP local managers.

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