NEW YORK: French advertising giant Publicis Groupe has announced its intention to apply for a voluntary delisting from the New York Stock Exchange - purportedly because of concerns about "ADR trading volume" (about 1% of its total share volume).

It also cites its "adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards in 2005; and a general desire to cut costs". But some observers believe there's more to the move than meets the eye.

Publicis chairman/ceo Maurice Lévy (pictured) is one of the savviest financial minds in the global ad business - and his intended pullout from the NYSE may be driven by a desire to escape the ants-nest panic that now underlies the US economy.

Publicis has also filed papers with the SEC to terminate the domestic registration of its securities, a move that suspends its US financial reporting obligations and becomes permanent in ninety days.

The New York withdrawal will have no impact on Publicis' primary listing of its ordinary shares and other securities on the Euronext market in Paris.

Nor is there any suggestion that Lévy's move signals a diminution of the group's substantial presence in the USA, which includes Digitas, Fallon, Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi and Starcom MediaVest Group.

Industry rune-readers believe it more likely to be a managed tactical retreat from the looming stock markets bloodletting.

Data sourced from AdWeek (USA); additional content by WARC staff