True North plans FCB acquisitions

Banks Hoggins O’Shea FCB parent True North Communications is attempting to expand FCB’s European services by buying interests in design, direct marketing, corporate communications, new media and media companies.

John Banks, chairman of Banks Hoggins O’Shea FCB, and FCB Worldwide international president Harry Reid have drawn up a shopping list of services to develop a fully integrated FCB network across Europe.

True North has a 49 per cent stake in the BJK&E Media joint venture with CIA Medianetwork, and another joint venture with CIA to handle the Daimler Chrysler business worldwide.

Banks says: “We have a good relationship with CIA, and BJK&E, in all the joint ventures – and that remains intact. We are now assessing what needs to be done to give us additional clout from an FCB perspective.

“We are looking at e-commerce because that’s an area that’s going to grow significantly, and at enhancing direct marketing, design and corporate communications.”

True North has been linked with Saatchi & Saatchi in a possible merger that would give it an automatic 50 per cent share in Zenith Media.

Industry sources say other possible media targets include Carat and CIA.

Banks believes agencies with a fully-integrated service are better placed to offer clients what they want, pointing to the two-year £20m communications task he is co-ordinating for Saudi Telecom (MW December 3). This involves a consortium including a corporate identity agency, culture change consultancies and True North’s communications agency BSMG Worldwide.

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