PHD in talks with Cogent over link-up

Pattison Horswell Durden is negotiating with Cogent over a joint venture media buying operation.

The joint venture, details of which are being kept under wraps while negotiations continue, is expected to have PHD as the senior partner.

Industry observers expect media planning and buying of Cogent’s 25m in billings (Register-MEAL) to move into PHD, with client handling roles retained by Cogent.

Cogent’s main clients include Vauxhall’s Network Q, Cuprinol and Cadbury’s Biscuits. PHD has billings of around 70m.

Cogent is believed to be looking at the joint venture as part of a downsizing of the company. In January, it closed its London offices and made a number of redundancies in an effort to cut costs.

The agency lost its 6m RAC account to the “virtual agency” created by marketing director Jan Smith last month. PHD currently handles the media for the RAC.

The venture presents no major client conflicts and is believed to be ready for signing within two weeks.

PHD has had approaches from a number of major agency net works in the past year seeking to acquire it. Talks with Lowe Howard-Spink are understood to have ended but other agencies are still in the frame.

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