MGM calls a halt to bidding battle

Nick Manning and Colin Gottlieb, the managing partners of Manning Gottlieb Media, have put the brakes on a week-long bidding war for control of their company.

Nick Manning and Colin Gottlieb, the managing partners of Manning

Gottlieb Media, have put the brakes on a week-long bidding war for

control of their company.



The media independent is now considering which of the two bidders -

Omnicom or Carat - will provide the best strategic opportunity for the

pounds 70 million billing MGM brand.



Omnicom has been preparing a full bid for MGM for some time but,

according to sources at Carat - which has a 19 per cent stake in the

media independent - Carat made a counter-offer last week of around

pounds 2 million more than Omnicom.



Now MGM has called a halt to the bidding war, which is thought to have

led to MGM being valued at more than pounds 13 million.



According to one insider, Carat is keen to use MGM to extend its UK

offering beyond TMD Carat and BBJ Media Services, adding a more

creative, planning-led proposition to its portfolio. Carat is also

understood to have tabled an offer that includes a substantial injection

of business into MGM.



Omnicom’s decision to sever ties with Eurospace, the Carat-owned media

operation that acted as a media partner for Omni-com’s TBWA Simons

Palmer agency (Campaign, last week), brought matters to a head.



Discussions between MGM and Omnicom have now reached contract stage.



Omnicom already has a 32 per cent stake in MGM, and Bruce Crawford, its

chairman, is due in London next week to confirm Omnicom’s new media

structure.



Crawford is planning an umbrella media operation spanning Omnicom’s BMP

Optimum, MGM and probably New PHD, in which Omnicom has a minority stake

through New PHD’s parent company, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.



Talks have already taken place between BMP, New PHD and MGM and the

proposed structure would see the three operations sharing some

negotiations along with some back-of-house resources, such as research

and training.



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