Consultants In Cannes; Decision Time For AT&T-Time Warner

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Cannes Lions kicks off next week, but without the hometown hero. Last year, the French holding company Publicis Groupe said it would forgo Cannes and other award shows in 2018 and reinvest savings in an AI platform. In a press release on Monday, Publicis clarified its position and shared details about its pared-down involvement, which involves some judge roles and client events. Its initial pullback sparked an industry conversation about the relative value of events like Cannes, especially as holding companies go through a period of painful belt-tightening. Meanwhile, deep-pocketed consulting firms may use the agency pullback to get a foot in the door. Accenture Interactive is doubling its investment in the show, while IBM iX and Deloitte Digital are increasing sponsorships and their involvement with the awards, Digiday reports. “We had no discussions on whether we should even be there,” said Anatoly Roytman, Accenture Interactive’s managing director. More.

A Done Deal?

Tens of billions of dollars in potential M&A deals will hang in the balance Tuesday when the Washington, DC, District Court rules on the Department of Justice’s antitrust suit to block the $87 billion merger of AT&T and Time Warner. The general feeling among industry and antitrust analysts is that the AT&T deal is likely to go through, very possibly under preconditions guaranteeing rival cable operators equal access to Time Warner content, The New York Times reports. Comcast faced such a requirement when it bought NBCUniversal (a case presided over by the same judge). “Media and telecom companies will also look for any signs that the judge agrees with AT&T and Time Warner’s assertion that Silicon Valley is a competitive threat and should also be defined as part of the media ecosystem,” since competition with online players like Netflix, Google and Amazon makes TV and Hollywood deals seem more competitive than anticompetitive. More.

Sorrell Investigation

WPP’s board investigated whether ousted CEO Martin Sorrell had spent company money on a prostitute, The Wall Street Journal reported late Saturday, citing people with knowledge of the investigation. Details of the investigation, which led to Sorrell’s departure from the company he built, remain undisclosed. Early in the investigation, Sorrell denied the allegations “unreservedly.” In a statement released Friday, WPP said, “The Company has not disclosed details of the allegation of personal misconduct against Sir Martin Sorrell because it is prohibited by data protection law from giving such details.” More.

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