WPP CEO Martin Sorrell said in a round of media interviews today that "ego" killed the $35B mega-merger between Publicis Groupe and Omnicom.
Speaking from Beijing, the Brit believes Omnicom boss John Wren was seduced by the “Gallic charm” of Publicis chief Maurice Levy.
In the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe, the Frenchman wooed the American with “this can all be yours,” according to Sorrell,
Wren, however, received a “rude awakening” when Levy began making demands in the pitched “merger of equals.”
Sorrell said the transaction was based on the “emotional thrill of knocking WPP off its No. 1 perch.”
Any acquisition, according to Sorrell, must make strategic sense for clients and people.
In the aftermath of the "expensive failure," Sorrell said Levy and Wren will have questions to answer from top Publicis shareholder Elizabeth Badinter and Omnicom chairman Bruce Crawford, respectively.