Talks between Leo Burnett and Bartle Bogle Hegarty about a media
merger have stalled following a dispute over staff and structure.
Leo Burnett’s acquisition of a 49 per cent stake in BBH at the end of
last year sparked plans for a joint UK media operation, bringing
together BBH’s Motive and Burnetts’ media department (Campaign, 9
However, Burnetts has told staff and clients that talks have been called
off, although in the long term it is committed to working with
Burnetts is in talks with DMB&B in the US about a global joint media
venture (Campaign, 6 March) and talks are said to have gathered pace in
recent weeks. However, any deal with DMB&B would not preclude
consolidation with Motive.
But discussions between Motive’s chiefs and Burnetts’ media team have
foundered, with Burnetts’ media department said to be reluctant to give
up its in-house status, having established strong relationships with a
number of blue-chip clients.
Jeff Fergus, Burnetts’ group president for Europe, Middle East, Africa
and Asia, said: ’We’ve explored ways of co-operating, but we’re not
doing anything in the short term. The discussions are complex and we
need to take our time.’