21 June 2000

According to the betrothed couple, their respective clients are pleased at the impending marriage.

Saatchi & Saatchi chief executive Kevin Roberts reports that Alan Laffley, the new boss of Saatchi’s anchor client Procter & Gamble, believes the merger “will make [the agency] stronger, more competitive and help us hire the best creative people.'' Likewise, Toyota’s top brass were "happy that the deal will give Saatchi & Saatchi more international power,'' and General Mills saw "no problem with the deal.''

It is believed that Publicis’ main clients – carmaker Renault, beauty products manufacturer L'Oreal and Swiss food giant Nestlé – have also given their blessing to the union.

Meanwhile around one hundred senior Saatchi staffers are breaking-out the champagne after learning that they will share in a multi-million dollar payout as a result of the merger. Thirty-five managers will receive Publicis shares worth a total of £59.2m, making an average windfall of £1.7m each.

A cool £10.3m will flutter into the lap of Saatchi’s part-time chairman Bob Seelert, who is to receive shares worth £6.6m plus £3.7m from the triggering of phantom options; while Kevin Roberts will receive paper worth £7.7m. But concerns that Saatchi employees could cash-in their windfalls by selling the Publicis stock caused a 12% slide yesterday in the French group’s share price.

The merger, expected to be completed in mid-September, will create the world's fifth largest advertising agency in revenue terms.

News sources: Advertising Age - International Daily / Financial Times