Havas Advertising has bought Snyder Communications in a $2.1bn (&£1.3bn) deal catapulting Havas from sixth to fourth in the global league.
The deal brings together a number of agencies with major car accounts, and raises a question mark over where Partners BDDH, the UK agency bought by Snyder a year ago, will be positioned in the group.
Havas Advertising will own 70 per cent of the expanded company and Snyder, which was previously the world’s number 11, will own 30 per cent. Dan Snyder, the 34-year-old chairman and chief executive of the US group who caused a stir last year with his $800m (&£500m) acquisition of the Washington Redskins football team, is to leave the new company.
Havas already has four divisions – Euro RSCG Worldwide; Campus, which includes WCRS; Diversified Agencies Group, including companies such as Evans Hunt Scott; and the Media Planning Group, which owns Mediapolis. Havas owns 45 per cent of Media Planning. Mediapolis is expected to rebrand under this international name.
The French group now fills its long-standing gap in the US with Snyder’s Boston-based advertising agency Arnold Communications. It also acquires Bounty SCA Worldwide, a marketing services firm, Brann Worldwide, the world leader in direct marketing and Circle.com, a Nasdaq-listed new media company.
Havas says Arnold Communications will become the lead agency of the Campus division, which is where Partners BDDH may also be positioned.
Jean-Michel Carlo, chairman and chief executive of Diversified Agencies and group vice-chairman, denies the group’s car accounts will cause conflicts.
Euro RSCG handles Peugeot-Citroen, Arnold works on VW in the US, WCRS has the BMW account, while Partners BDDH handles Mercedes-Benz.
Carlo says: “Some clients don’t want the same agency everywhere. They want to choose the best agency in each of their key markets.” He said there would be no agency mergers.
Partners BDDH chairman Leslie Butterfield says: “It is business as usual. I am completely open minded until I have more information.”
Jac Hansel, chief strategy officer of Brann Worldwide, which made up half of Snyder’s revenues, says: “We are excited because we will have a lot bigger role to play within Havas.”