EU clears $35 bln Omnicom, Publicis merger

BRUSSELS Thu Jan 9, 2014 9:20am EST

BRUSSELS Jan 9 (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators said on Thursday they had cleared the $35 billion merger of U.S. advertising agency Omnicom and French peer Publicis without conditions.

The deal would create the world's biggest advertising agency able to compete better with online rivals such as Google and Facebook. Omnicom now ranks second behind leader WPP with Publicis in third place.

"The merged entity would be sufficiently constrained by several competitors, including large international advertising groups," the European Commission said in a statement. "Should the merged entity increase its prices or decrease the quality of its services, customers would have the ability to switch."

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