Paris-headquartered Publicis Groupe is poised to harvest the fruits of outperforming the global ad market [WAMN: 06-Mar-02] with the $3 billion (€3.42bn; £2.10bn) all-stock acquisition of Chicago’s Bcom3 Group .

The marriage, if consummated, will see Publicis leapfrog the global agency league table from sixth to fourth position. Bcom3, currently ranked at number seven, is the holding company for Leo Burnett and D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.

Negotiations, although on the final straight, are said to be extremely complex and at highly sensitive point. One potential stumbling block is the 20% stake in Bcom3 held by Japanese mega-agency Dentsu which not only must approve the deal but also may become an active partner with up to 15% of the merged group.

None of the three protagonists would comment on the negotiations, although a formal announcement could be forthcoming as early as today (Thursday).

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff