Blade’s future under threat after PHD pulls media work

Omnicom-owned media agency PHD is poised to move its outdoor buying business from Alban-owned outdoor specialist Blade to rival Poster Publicity.

The move leaves the future of Blade in doubt following several losses at the Alban Group.

At the end of last year Concord, which is wholly owned by Alban, lost the contract to plan Walker Media’s and Optimedia’s outdoor buying to Posterscope. At the same time, outdoor planning agency Outdoor Connection, which is half-owned by Alban and half-owned by Omnicom, lost Omnicom-owned OMD UK’s business – again to Posterscope. Both Concord and Outdoor Connection use Blade.

Outdoor Connection is understood to be poised to extract itself from the Alban Group and become wholly owned by PHD.

Outdoor Connection chief executive Carol Kerman says: “Since we lost OMD’s business last year we have been looking at Outdoor Connection’s ownership. Outdoor Connection will remain as a brand, but there is a question over our buying.” Kerman, who is also on the board of Alban, adds that no final decision had been made.

Industry insiders are now predicting that Alban will be forced to merge Concord and Blade into one agency after suffering such substantial losses.

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