PARIS – Omnicom Group Inc. and Publicis Groupe SA say they are combining in a “merger of equals” that will create the world’s largest advertising firm, one worth more than $35 billion.
The combined company will be called Publicis Omnicom Group and be jointly led by New York-based Omnicom CEO John Wren and Paris-based Publicis CEO Maurice Levy as co-chief executives.
The move is designed to bolster the companies’ focus on growing Asian and Latin American markets such as China and Brazil, where they each have ramped up operations to counter lackluster growth in weak European markets.
Rich Tullo, an analyst at Albert Fried & Co. in New York, predicted pushback from regulators in both the U.S. and France. The U.S. could be wary of one company controlling such a large portion of the market, he said, while in France, authorities might not take warmly to any Americanization of a company that is a bright spot in the bruised French economy.
Spanish train driver charged, released
The driver of a Spanish train that derailed at high speed and killed 79 people was provisionally charged Sunday with multiple cases of negligent homicide.
A court statement said investigative magistrate Luis Alaez released Francisco Jose Garzon Amo without bail.
The statement said Garzon must appear in court once a week and is forbidden to leave Spain without permission.
Garzon was not sent to jail or required to post bail because none of the parties involved felt there was a risk of him fleeing or attempting to destroy evidence, the statement said.
Navy commander killed in ambush
Gunmen ambushed and killed one of Mexico’s highest ranking navy officials and the officer escorting him Sunday in the rough western state of Michoacan, authorities said.
Two other people were injured in the shooting in an area where a fight between rival drug cartels has caused a new outburst of violence.
The state prosecutors’ office said the attack on Vice Adm. Carlos Miguel Salazar happened on a dirt road near the town of Churintzio. The motive was unclear, but Salazar is the top navy commander in the neighboring Pacific coastal state of Jalisco.