Grey-owned media shop MediaCom has bought media independent The Media Business Group for 28m after eight months of talks, and much brinkmanship.
The new company will be called MediaCom/TMBG. It boasts clients including Procter & Gamble, SmithKline Beecham, Mars, Direct Line, and Warner Bros.
TMBG chairman and chief executive Allan Rich will stay on as chairman and chief executive of the new group, while TMBG group managing director Stephen Allan, and MediaCom chief executive Andy Troullides, will become joint managing directors.
The deal takes MediaCom from 15th to sixth place in terms of size, with the merged agency’s billings totalling 333m.
This puts the new agency just ahead of Universal McCann and New PHD and right behind agencies such as BMP Optimum and MediaVest.
Ed Meyer, chief executive officer of Grey Advertising, says: “The transaction enhances MediaCom Worldwide’s position as the second largest media planning and buying business in Europe.”
Troullides comments: “You can’t grow simply by winning more and more new business. This deal gives us a great deal of size, and access to a wider talent base.”
He adds: “There are few conflicts for two companies of our size. We have not had a conversation with any of our major clients about this.”
Sources close to the deal say that Rich, who has made a fortune from the sale, is expected to retire from the company in about six months. Then Troullides and Allan will be front-runners for the chief executive’s post. However, the company denies this scenario.
The new company of just under 200 people will relocate to TMBG’s new building in north-west London in January.