The proposed acquisition of the GGT Group is in line with the
stated intention of Omnicom’s chief executive, John Wren, to strengthen
the group’s third agency network brand, TBWA (feature, p24).
It will, should it be accepted by GGT’s shareholders, redress the
imbalance in the group’s revenues, out of which some 60 per cent are
from the US home market.
The main prize for the networks bidding for the GGT Group was France,
which was why Publicis’s Maurice Levy was never a serious contender.
WPP’s Martin Sorrell needs to bolster an unexceptional J. Walter
Thompson operation in that market, and would have had space for a third
force in his London armoury (notwithstanding Lansdown Conquest’s
For Omnicom, the attraction is similar. In keeping with several other
agency groups, its TBWA agency suffers in the French market from being
seen as too American. BDDP, of course, could not be more French, and is
a real prize - with one proviso.
If the agency’s founders were all to walk out, it is unclear where this
would leave its clients. It is crucial that Jean Marie Dru remains
within the group - as the offer document suggested - particularly with
uncertainty surrounding the future of Dru’s BDDP co-founder, Jean Claude
Boulet, rumoured to be leaving soon.
But there are other personnel questions to be resolved: what might this
mean for Alistair Ritchie, European chief executive of TBWA? And, what
exactly will Mike Greenlees’s yet to be finalised new role entail: is he
the successor to
TBWA’s Bill Tragos? If so, does that mean a move to the US for him?