NEWS: Lowes to link with Initiative media

The Lowe Group is planning to launch a pan-European media network in a joint venture partnership with its Interpublic sister agency, Initiative Media.

The Lowe Group is planning to launch a pan-European media network in a

joint venture partnership with its Interpublic sister agency, Initiative

Media.



It has yet to be decided whether Western International Media, the US

media giant bought by Interpublic in 1994, will be part of the deal

first revealed by Campaign last week. Discussions with Western

International continue and an agreement will be finalised in September

(Campaign, 5 July).



Marie-Jose Forissier, Initiative Media Worldwide’s chief executive, said

the joint venture would be implemented differently market by market. ‘In

some countries Initiative is too big and this will give us the chance to

diversify our growth,’ she said.



Forissier denied the move was designed to give the two agencies more

leverage with media owners: ‘Obviously if two companies come together we

will try to find synergies. But we run our business not by agency deals

but by client-by-client philosophies.’



Lowes laid out its plans in its pitch for the centralised TSB/Lloyds

media business last Monday. Those present at the pitch were asked to

keep the plans secret until the deal was finalised. Frank Lowe, the Lowe

Group chairman, refused to comment on what he dismissed as ‘speculation’

and Jerry Judge, Lowe Howard-Spink’s chief executive, was unavailable

for comment.



Lowe Howard-Spink has eschewed the idea of combining its media

department with that of its fellow IPG agency, McCann-Erickson, under

the Universal banner. And, in December last year, Campaign revealed it

was considering hiving off its media department in a bid to increase its

media clout (Campaign, 8 December 1995).



In the past few months, the agency has conducted talks with the media

independent, Pattison Horswell Durden, which in May was bought by Abbott

Mead Vickers BBDO, and most recently with CIA Medianetwork.



Western International, the US’s second largest media buying operation

with billings of about dollars 1.6 billion, was bought by Interpublic

two years ago for dollars 50 million.



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