Aegis-Dentsu deal faces delay to 2013

LONDON: Dentsu's $5.1 billion takeover of Aegis may not be complete until next year, rather than before Christmas as originally envisioned, due to the slow process of Chinese regulators examining the deal.

LONDON: Dentsu's $5.1 billion takeover of Aegis may not be complete until next year, rather than before Christmas as originally envisioned, due to the slow process of Chinese regulators examining the deal.

It is understood that the People's Republic of China's Ministry of Commerce has yet to accept formal notification of the combination, although discussions opened in August.

From the point it accepts formal notification, it is believed the Commerce Ministry has up to 120 days to make a decision.

Aegis claimed that it and Dentsu "remain confident that the [deal] will become effective on or prior to February 28, 2013,” and that it and Dentsu "remain in constructive dialogue with the Commerce Ministry.”

It is understood that while Aegis and Dentsu are reluctant to proceed without clearance in China, the issue is not a threat to their deal.

China is the third-largest market in the world for advertising spending and it is predicted to overtake Dentsu's home market of Japan in the next few years.

China and Japan are at diplomatic odds over their rival claims to a group of islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and as the Diaoyu in China. Japan's acquisition of some of the islands from their private Japanese owners in September sparked a boycott of Japanese-made goods by Chinese consumers.

Aegis remains listed on the London Stock Exchange until the deal is completed.

All other national and regional competition authorities have given the green light to the combination.

Separately, Aegis has acquired IQ Mobile, a mobile agency based in Austria.

Nigel Morris, CEO of Aegis Media Americas and EMEA said: "The acquisition of IQ Mobile, a highly regarded specialist in mobile marketing in the Austrian market, will be important in differentiating Aegis Media's digital service offering in that market.”

"This acquisition is in line with our strategy to strengthen our digital capability and will provide us with opportunities to increase Aegis Media's mobile business in Austria and across Central and Eastern Europe,” he added.

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