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Advertising giants Omnicom and Publicis call off $35-billion merger

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe say they have scrapped their merger plans that would have created the world's largest advertising firm.

The companies issued a joint statement late Thursday saying they mutually agreed to call off the US$35-billion deal announced in July because they were not able to complete the merger in a reasonable time frame.

They did not give details, but the Wall Street Journal reported that issues included getting tax and regulatory approvals, and debates over which company would be listed as the acquirer of the other.

Omnicom Group Inc., based in New York, owns BBDO Worldwide, DDB Worldwide Communications Group and TBWA Worldwide, among other agencies.

Paris-based Publicis Groupe SA runs its namesake agency as well as Leo Burnett Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi, and DigitasLBi.

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