When asked to clarify the matter, Omnicom Group said in a statement that DDB Japan would "co-locate" to BBDO Japan as of 1 December 2015.
According to the statement, “the relocation will allow for operational synergy in Japan, with DDB gaining access to the wider Omnicom resources resulting in an increased level of service and capabilities, especially in digital and strategic planning”.
Omnicom said DDB Japan would “continue to operate as a branded agency and as part of the DDB Worldwide network servicing its clients in Tokyo” and that “the co-location of both agencies and joint resources will result in a stronger operation for Omnicom clients in Japan”.
On its website, DDB Japan lists clients it has worked with as Volkswagen, McDonald's, Esso, Unilever, Shiseido, Johnson & Johnson, Nikon, Tourism Australia and Philips, among others.
Representatives from BBDO and DDB were not able to provide further details on the reasons for the restructure or how the two companies will work together.
Tony Harris, who moved from BBDO Guerrero to take up the role of CEO of BBDO Japan in June, will be responsible for both agencies.
Matsui, whom DDB appointed in May to replace Cairo Marsh, will leave to “return to his former self-run business”, according to a regional spokesperson from DDB.
DDB did not confirm or deny further staff changes, but said there was an “ongoing review of each client’s requirements to match the best talent for the roles”.
A similar structure between DDB and BBDO exists in other regional markets, including Taiwan, where operations were combined last May. DDB opened for business in Japan in 1986.
BBDO itself restructured in Japan in June, with the aim of becoming more consistent with the network in other markets. The agency now consists of three companies under I&S BBDO Group: BBDO Japan, I&S BBDO, and BBDO J West.
In September, John Zeigler retired as regional head of DDB. Singapore CEO and Asia vice-chairman David Tang replaced him, with responsibility for offices across Southeast Asia, Greater China, Japan and Korea.