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Publicis, Omnicom merger gets U.S. antitrust green light

PARIS (Reuters) - Advertising groups Publicis and Omnicom received no objections from U.S. antitrust authorities for their proposed merger, they said on Friday, taking them a step closer to creating a new world leading player.

The deal combines the world's No. 2 agency, Omnicom, with No. 3, Publicis. The companies have previously expressed confidence that the transaction will be allowed to go ahead.

The two firms said in a statement the US' Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust review had expired without any challenge and the merger had also received regulatory approvals in Canada, India, Turkey, South Africa and South Korea.

"The merger is also conditional on getting other regulatory authorizations and the approval of the shareholders of the two groups," the firms said.

The jumbo deal is rare among the world's "Big Six" advertising groups, which have spent the past few years buying up much smaller targets in emerging markets and among Web marketing specialists.

If completed, it will shift focus to those left standing alone, such as current leader WPP , U.S.-based Interpublic , France's Havas and Japan's Dentsu <4324.T>.

Publicis shares were up 0.55 percent on Friday outperforming the CAC-40 <.FCHI> equity index.

(Reporting By John Irish; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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