Zenith and Optimedia in link talks

By LEXIE GODDARD, campaignlive.co.uk, Monday, 26 June 2000 12:00AM

The media industry was buzzing last week with talk of a tie up between Zenith and Optimedia, which would create a dollars 13 billion-plus global media player.

The media industry was buzzing last week with talk of a tie up

between Zenith and Optimedia, which would create a dollars 13

billion-plus global media player.



The news followed the announcement of the pounds 1.24 billion proposed

takeover of Saatchi & Saatchi by Publicis. The deal would produce the

fifth biggest communications group in the world.



Paris-based Publicis 100 per cent owns Optimedia, while Saatchis has a

50 per cent stake in Zenith, the UK’s biggest media agency.



However, John Perriss, the chairman of Zenith Media Worldwide, told

media watchers ’not to hold their breath’ for further news on the

merger.



Perriss will sit down with Publicis and Cordiant in the next few weeks

to discuss how the two companies could work together.



Perriss said the target date for the completion of the deal between

Saatchis and Publicis would be in September. He added: ’I only found out

the news on Monday. Apart from the massive legal and financial issues

involved, we are not sure whether it is desirable for our clients.’



Simon Lloyd, Optimedia’s chairman, said Zenith and Optimedia would

retain their separate brands.



’If we merged the two brands tomorrow, we’d lose a hell of a lot of

business,’ he said. However, Lloyd conceded they could work together

overseas.



’We are very strong in Europe while Zenith is strong in Asia and North

America. Zenith is also a volume buyer whereas we are more involved in

strategic campaigns - it’s a good fit all round.’



Campaign reported last week that Zenith was dropped from Renault’s

pan-European media review because its continental network was not strong

enough.



Optimedia is the incumbent on the Renault business and is believed to

have held on to its place on the pitch-list.



Both companies work on Hewlett Packard and Allied Domecq.



Zenith has ten offices in the Americas, 25 in Europe, the Middle East

and Africa and 20 in Asia Pacific. Optimedia has 22 offices in Europe

and 21 worldwide.



Optimedia is run by Simon Mathews in the UK, while Simon Marquis heads

Zenith’s UK office.



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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