Nothing raises anti-trust eyebrows like a mega merger, and the proposed Publicis/Omnicom combination last week is certainly that. The deal will have to be approved by competition regulators in Europe, the US and Asia. The companies themselves are confident of regulatory approval for the merger, and they are probably ultimately right. But in getting there they will be dealing with regulators whose views of consolidation in digital industries are being shaped by a deep suspicion of scale and a shifting view of how ‘market power’ works on the internet. Here we look at the three basic questions for regulators and one potential wildcard for the parties – China.
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