NEWS: AMV acquires PHD in UK media union

The Abbott Mead Vickers group is to buy Pattison Horswell Durden in a move that will create a new top-five media brand in the UK called New PHD.

The Abbott Mead Vickers group is to buy Pattison Horswell Durden in a

move that will create a new top-five media brand in the UK called New

PHD.



Abbott Mead is thought to be paying around pounds 5 million for the

company on an earn-out basis, with the three partners - David Pattison,

Nick Horswell and Jonathan Durden - tied in for a minimum of five years.



The deal is expected to be ratified within the next week, and a full

merger of the two media operations will take place before September.

John Ayling’s 20 per cent share of PHD will be sold to Abbott Mead as

part of the agreement.



The new company will have billings of around pounds 260 million. New PHD

will also incorporate the pounds 20 million TV buying for Leagas

Delaney, which Abbott Mead took on earlier this year.



Clients are understood to have already been informed about the move and

there is only one major conflict: PHD handles Lil-lets while Abbott Mead

works with Tampax. Discussions with these two clients are thought to

centre on the benefits of category specialisation.



As part of the deal, Abbott Mead will relinquish all of its in-house

media functions and its media department will move into PHD’s offices

off the Tottenham Court Road.



Ken New, currently the vice-chairman of Abbott Mead, will become

chairman of the new operation, with Pattison, Horswell and Durden

jointly running the company with him.



There will be senior roles for all of Abbott Mead and PHD’s top people,

including Abbott Mead’s media director, Alan Brydon, and no redundancies

are expected.



The rationale behind the merger is the recognition of the need for scale

in the media market. Both PHD and Abbott Mead have built solid media

reputations for their creative thinking and innovative approach, but

neither had the bulk to match major players such as Zenith Media and TMD

Carat.



The idea is that New PHD will combine creativity with a well-resourced

media operation more able to match the might of the media owners.



No-one at either Abbott Mead or PHD would comment on the deal.



Story, p2



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