Publicis CEO: Comcast-Time Warner deal a 'necessity for the new world'


The chief executive of French advertising agency Publicis has described the expected tie-up between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, as the "sensible" thing to do.

Maurice Levy, who has served as Publicis CEO since 1987 and led the group to a 2013 merger with U.S. conglomerate Omnicom to create the world's largest advertising firm, told CNBC that "concentration is the name of the game these days."

"I think that what Comcast is doing it is sensible and it right and if you look at the size of the platform and the media owners today, this is a trend which will not stop in the next few years. It will continue and it is a necessity for the new world," he said.

CNBC reported on Wednesday that Comcast had reached an agreement to acquire Time Warner Cable in all-stock transaction worth roughly $159 a share, citing to people close to the deal.

(Read more: Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable in all stock deal)

Levy said the announcement has both pros and cons for the advertising business.

Omnicom CEO John Wren and Publicis CEO Maurice Levy after announcing a merger of their companies
Getty Images

"We have to adopt ourselves to the new world and this is what I think we have done. I think that concentration has some merits and it has some drawbacks. When you look at the bottom line, it is extremely positive that we see some great player s in this world," he added.

(Read more: Publicis CEO talks merger & future of advertising at CES)

Publicis reported fourth-quarter earnings that fell short of annual growth targets after a slowdown in emerging markets, particularly in China and India, where the group is overexposed to the luxury goods market said Levy.

Publicis said organic revenue, a closely tracked figure in the industry which strips out acquisitions and currency swings, rose just 0.7 percent in the three months ended December, dragged down by an 11 percent fall in China. Full-year organic growth stood at 2.6 percent for revenue of 6.95 billion euros. Analysts were expecting 3 percent organic growth, investment bank UBS said.

(Read more: The $35 billion Publicis-Omnicom merger 'started as a joke')

However, the firm still posted an overall rise in full-year net profit to 792 million euro ($1.08 billion) from 732 million euros in the prior year, despite some costs related to the upcoming merger.

Levy said the delays to the $35 billion merger with Omnicorp, which was announced in July 2013, due to issues obtaining antitrust clearance from China will push the closing date into the second half of this year.

"There is nothing major, just administrative process which is taking a bit of time. Will it close in H1, or the beginning of H2 – it is very difficult to say, it is very possible that it will be slipping to start of H2. I don't see the problem with some delays in a merger of this size," he added.

By CNBC's Jenny Cosgrave: Follow her on Twitter @jenny_cosgrave