Omnicom buts Simons Palmer

Global giant offers up to 7m for London agency after long search and merges it with TBWA

Omnicom has bought Simons Palmer Clemmow Johnson for an estimated 5m to 7m and merged it with TBWA.

The new agency is understood to have the working title Simons Palmer TBWA.

Simons Palmer chairman Paul Simons will become chief executive. TBWA’s chairman Jonathan Hoare will retain his position and other roles are understood to have been found for Carl Johnson and Simon Clemmow. It is believed that TBWA creative director Trevor Beattie has quit the agency in the wake of the takeover and it is unclear what will happen to managing director Graham Arkell.

Observers say the deal between TBWA and Simons Palmer will preclude Simons Palmer taking any new car business, because TBWA has Nissan as a global client. Simons Palmer pitched for Mercedes on Monday and if the agency wins the business it is unlikely to take it to TBWA.

TBWA also has Nivea, part of Beiersdorf, while Simons Palmer is understood to be working for Unilever’s Elida Fabergé.

Simons Palmer also has Sony PlayStation in the UK and TBWA has Virgin Interactive Entertainment.

TBWA has lost a considerable amount of business recently: the 6m Direct Line account; 15m Wrangler; 3m Clark; and the 700,000 Evian and Reckitt & Colman brief.

Omnicom has been searching or a London agency for some time. It is understood to have approa ched several agencies, including Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters.

Omnicom bought Chiat Day in 1995 to secure the global Nissan account. TBWA had Nissan in Europe, but Chiat Day had it in North America. Omnicom failed to secure the London office of Chiat Day, which took Midland Bank with it and relaunched as St Luke’s.

Simons Palmer owns 30 per cent of Manning Gottlieb Media, which launched out of Simons Palmer two years ago. It also has a substantial interest in Maher Bird.

The deal will mean that all share holdings belonging to Simons Palmer’s holdings company, SP Holdings, will be transfered to Omnicom. Simons Palmer also has an interest in production company Mission and consumer forecasting unit Headlight.

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