Creston launches ‘buy and build’ strategy in the US

Creston has “no plans” to launch a US arm of agency Delaney Lund Knox Warren (DLKW), despite announcing ambitious plans in the US headed by former FCB global chief Steve Blamer.

Creston has “no plans” to launch a US arm of agency Delaney Lund Knox Warren (DLKW), despite announcing ambitious plans in the US headed by former FCB global chief Steve Blamer.

It says former Grey London chief Blamer, who has been named Creston US chief executive, will instead be tasked with the same “buy and build” strategy employed in the UK.

In an exclusive interview, group chief executive Don Elgie says there are no plans to open US offices of its marketing services agency, although he was “unlikely to stand in the way” of agencies wanting to do so if they had client-driven motives. He says start-ups traditionally “take too long” and it makes more sense to acquire existing businesses and create strategic alliances.

DLKW group chief executive Mark Lund adds: “It is notoriously difficult to get into the US market. We envisage working with an existing American agency rather than starting from scratch.”

Creston’s UK agencies, which include direct shop Tullo Marshall Warren (TMW) and PR firm Nelson Bostock, will be given vetoing rights over any US acquisition.

The Blamer-run American operation is the first step in Creston’s global ambitions. It also intends to set up an Asian “hub”.

Former FCB Worldwide chief executive and president Blamer left in June last year after its merger with Interpublic stablemate Draft. He previously headed Grey Worldwide North America.

Blamer says Creston is in talks with a number of American independents. He plans to make “at least one” acquisition in the coming 12 months, but insists there is no set strategy or blueprint for the types of agencies to acquire, or sectors.

“I do think it is important that the companies we look at have global aspirations. It is a strength that will help the overall portfolio, with UK companies having access to US representation,” he adds.

“[But] I will not allow this company in the US to go the same path as the large holding companies, which buy up agencies and force their principles on them.”

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