Motive merges with Starcom

The Leo Group’s media agency Starcom and Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s Motive officially confirmed their UK merger this week, creating a £440m billing entity which could leave sister company MediaVest out in the cold.

The new company will be called the Starcom Motive Partnership (SMP).

MediaVest’s parent, the MacManus Group, is to finalise merger plans with the Leo Group at the end of this month. Starcom Worldwide chief operating officer Bob Brennan says there has been “no operational discussions” with MacManus’s media management, but he adds that it is “a likely possibility” that the Starcom and MediaVest brands will be merged in some markets around the world. He would not confirm or deny a three-way merger in the UK.

Dentsu is also taking a 20 per cent stake in the new global holding company called BDM.

SMP’s London office, which becomes the headquarters of Starcom’s 18-office Europe, Middle East and Africa region (EMEA), will be based at Motive’s offices in Soho. Motive managing director Mark Cranmer becomes managing director of Starcom EMEA. Cranmer says: “We want to be a centre of excellence.”

Cranmer declined to comment on whether Starcom’s Heinz and United Biscuits business would conflict with Motive’s newly-won Danone planning business or its Golden Wonder account.

Cranmer, who reports to Starcom Worldwide chief executive Jack Klues, has been a member of the Starcom Worldwide board since BBH’s founders sold 49 per cent of their agency to Leo Burnett for £30m two years ago. The ownership structure of SMP is not being revealed, although both sides insist it is a merger.

A five-strong management team will report to Cranmer. Starcom joint managing directors Richard Beaven and David Connolly become executive directors for planning and European operations respectively; while Motive managers Kevin Brown, Iain Jacob and Andy Roberts take the titles executive strategic development director, executive client services director and executive UK buying director.

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