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Publicis CEO talks merger & future of advertising at CES

Tuesday, 7 Jan 2014 | 10:45 PM ET
Publicis Groupe CEO: Digital drives 40% revenue
Tuesday, 7 Jan 2014 | 4:22 PM ET
CNBC's Julia Boorstin reports Publicis CEO Maurice Levy says the approval of the merger between his company and Omnicom is moving quicker than expected. Levy says Publicis has deals with Google and Twitter.

Where does the man about to run the world's new largest advertising agency see the biggest opportunity? Digital. And he's already moving in.

"We are moving money to Spotify," said Maurice Levy, CEO of Publicis Groupe, adding that his brands are also increasingly working with LinkedIn as they look to grow their presence.

"We're at the beginning of a huge transformation," when it comes to advertising's digital shift, he said. Sure, he still values the most traditional medium. He praised the power of TV ads to reach consumers at scale. And said he's hopeful that the print ad businesses will rebound with publications moving more onto the Internet.

But nearly 40 percent of Publicis' revenue comes from digital, Levy boasted, a trend that he said is only going to accelerate, noting Publicis' StarcomMediavest Group's deal with Twitter is "going extremely well," he said.

Levy stressed that every type of medium is different and can serve a different purpose for marketers. Twitter plays the role of "an accelerator of information," Facebook plays the role of managing "long-term personal relationships," while Google is valuable in a whole different way, he said.

Publicis CEO Maurice Levy stands on the the floor of the New York Stock Exchange a day after announcing that Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe will merge to form the world's largest advertising holding company on July 29, 2013 in New York City.
Getty Images
Publicis CEO Maurice Levy stands on the the floor of the New York Stock Exchange a day after announcing that Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe will merge to form the world's largest advertising holding company on July 29, 2013 in New York City.

Meanwhile Levy revealed that the approval process for Publicis' proposed merger with Omnicom is progressing faster than expected and he doesn't "see anything getting in the way."

Levy said he expects good news from the European Union, perhaps by the end of this week. He also noted that Chinese regulators have accepted the next stage of the proposed merger's regulatory process. While he conceded that "we have a long process ahead," Levy said he's "confident" the deal will be approved.

(Read more: 2014—The age of media/tech convergence)

The CEO discussed his and Omnicom's future from CES, where Levy had a packed schedule of meetings with his agencies' brands, tech companies, and an on-stage interview with Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, moderated by MediaLink CEO Michael Kassaon.

(Click here for complete CES coverage)

Levy said that being at CES and understanding where consumer habits and technology are headed, is "extremely important to help brands and advertisers connect," noting that "everything has an impact on the consumer, from new devices and technology." Levy said he always strives to be first at innovating: "That's why we have made agreements with Twitter, Google, [and] Facebook."

(Read more: Michael Bay walks out on Samsung)

—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin. Follow her on Twitter: @JBoorstin.

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