Omnicom is in talks to buy a 20 per cent stake in Springer &
Jacoby, Germany’s biggest independent agency, in a move that could see
the world’s largest agency group set up a fourth network.
Mercedes Benz, Springer’s showpiece client, is likely to be a motivating
force for the deal, which has been under discussion since late last
year, since the German car manufacturer has committed to help Springer
roll out an advertising agency network across Europe.
Mercedes’ US account is already handled by an Omnicom agency, the New
York-based Merkely Newman Harty.
This grouping could work as a separate entity to Omnicom’s successful
agency brands, TBWA, BBDO and DDB. Michael Troutmann, the managing
director of Springer, said: We are trying to set up a European network
over the next two years. Mercedes want us to be in every major capital.
It is one option to work with Omnicom as a minority shareholder ... but
I don’t think there will be an agreement for at least four weeks.
John Wren, the president and chief executive of Omnicom, is holding
talks directly with Springer’s co-founder, Konstantin Jacoby, about
taking a stake. Wren was unavailable for comment as Campaign went to
However, sources close to the possible deal suggested talks may could be
held up by the extent of the German agency’s ambitions on the
international stage. Springer, with its proud heritage of German
creativity, is also believed to be keen to see its name retained in all
Springer is the more aggressive of Germany’s two remaining large
While its fellow Hamburg agency, Jung von Matt, has found success at
home, with agencies in Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin, Springer is the
only one to have ventured into overseas markets.
Last year, Springer opened an office in London to handle its
international activities, and it is now understood to be planning
further expansion into Spain and Italy at the behest of Mercedes.
Mercedes’ London account, which is handled by Partners BDDH, is not
thought to be under threat.