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Sir Martin Sorrell on the State of M&A and the Failed Publicis Omnicom Merger


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WPP's Sir Martin Sorrell speaks on the state of mergers and acquisitions, as well as the failed Publicis Omnicom merger, in this latest clip from our interview.

Some of our favorite excerpts:
“Since Lehman in 2008, the world's not growing as fast as it had before. So it sub-trend. In that environment, clients in order to make their numbers, are very aggressive on the cut side of the equation. They don't want to take the risk. And I don't buy this argument that we're seeing a significant increase in M&A activity, and it's going to continue. Average life for a CEO is four to six years. Average life of a CMO in America is about two years. People don't want aggravation. They want safety. So that's the reason they're sitting on $4.2 trillion of cash with relatively un-leveraged balance sheets. And they don't want to take risks.”

“So even though the environment has been tough, even though it's been very cost focused, we've managed to eek out continuous progress of which obviously I'm very proud of and our people should be proud of. But it hasn't been without pressure, and the pressure continues to tighten in the system. That's why POG [Publicis Omnicom Group] fundamentally tried to get it together.”

"I mean, they failed, ultimately. Basically, it was an ego and eyes being bigger than tummy. But essentially, what it was about was they thought, in a chill wind, you're better to huddle together. And that's what I think they saw. I mean, they didn't really describe significant benefits for clients or their-- or their people. But what they felt was that by getting bigger, they would be more insulated against some of these businesses."

Published in: Business