Paris:  The USD 35 billion deal to combine Publicis Groupe and Omnicom collapsed due to differences over how to implement a “merger of equals” in creating the world’s biggest advertising firm, the CEO of the French company said.  Maurice Levy, the strong-willed head of Paris-based Publicis, denied it was a question of a personality clash with John Wren, his counterpart at Omnicom, but rather a fundamental difference on balancing the leadership of the new firm. Levy said he was deeply disappointed that the deal announced last July fell apart.  But, he said, “balance means balance.”  The merger was intended to help the firms counter the growing clout of Internet giants such as Facebook and Google, which can bypass advertising companies altogether, as well as strengthen growth in Asia and Latin America.

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