FCB still shopping in wake of BHO merger

Foote Cone & Belding is still on the acquisition trail, despite its purchase of Banks Hoggins O’Shea last week (MW November 12). It has also emerged that Rhona Tridgell, media communications director of FCB, was made redundant in the aftermath

Foote Cone & Belding is still on the acquisition trail, despite its purchase of Banks Hoggins O’Shea last week (MW November 12). It has also emerged that Rhona Tridgell, media communications director of FCB, was made redundant in the aftermath of the deal.

The merged agency, Banks Hoggins O’Shea/FCB, has combined billings of about 90m. But it is aiming to become a top-12 agency within the next three years by raising billings to between 170m and 190m, according to chairman John Banks.

He says: “We’re not going on a billings crusade. We’ll grow in the best way we can, which could involve an acquisition if the deal is right.”

Harry Reid, FCB president international, says: “We have got to get the merged agency working. Another acquisition is down the road a bit.”

Renewed takeover talks may include Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters, which is understood to have come close to signing a deal this time round, and Partners BDDH. Both agencies have strong management and reputable planning and creative departments.

The takeovers come as FCB, the biggest agency in the US, attempts to bolster its European network. The drive is being led by Tony Douglas, the recently-appointed chairman of FCB Europe.

Jonathan Stirling, BHO media partner, will run the merged agency’s domestic media planning and buying. Banks says that with Stirling and Tridgell “there was a complete duplication of jobs”. Optimedia continues to handle the agency’s international media business.

News Analysis, page 19

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