Interpublic and Lowe Howard-Spink are believed to be discussing bringing Western International Media (WIM) to Europe to create a new pan-European media brand.
Discussions, which are at an early stage, are based on the need to provide LH-S’ largest client, General Motors, with a consistent pan European media service and follow the end of its search for a media independent.
A previous attempt by Interpublic to form Universal, a pan-European media network composed of LH-S and McCann-Erickson offices, foundered last October.
Since then, Lowe’s strategy has centred on buying a media independent, principally Pattison Horswell Durden. Acquisition talks are now understood to have ended because PHD’s managing partners wanted to retain more control than LH-S was prepared to accept.
WIM, the US’s second largest media buying operation with billings of about $1.7bn, was bought by Interpublic in October 1994 for $50m. Since then, it has remained outside Interpublic’s full-service networks McCann-Erickson, The Lowe Group and Ammirati Puris Lintas because of the potential for client conflicts.
The pressure to create a pan-European media brand is coming from GM, which wants the agency to replicate the best practice of LH-S’ media operation in London across Europe.
The car giant is known to be especially concerned about its media in Germany.