Publicis snaps up top US shop Fallon

Fallon McElligott has sold out to the French-owned Publicis Group and will use the deal to build a network of agencies around the globe.

Fallon McElligott has sold out to the French-owned Publicis Group

and will use the deal to build a network of agencies around the

globe.



The US-based Fallon has opened only two offices outside its Minneapolis

heartland since it was founded nearly 20 years ago, but it now plans to

expand rapidly into Asia and South America.



Fallon, which will retain its identity as a standalone brand, is the

sixth US company to come under the wing of the Publicis Group during the

past year.



Maurice Levy, the group’s president and chief executive, said: ’We now

have dollars 400 million of revenue from the US. The acquisition of

Fallon should settle any doubts about whether Publicis is aiming for the

best.’



While the London agency is claiming ’business as usual’, Levy announced

that Fallon will become the group’s second-string global network,

capable of handling conflicting accounts.



’The idea is to let Fallon expand alongside Publicis,’ Levy said. ’There

are obvious synergies between us and we can share in the distribution of

media.’ Publicis owns the global Optimedia network, while Fallon has no

media affiliations.



Pat Fallon, one of the founders of the agency, said: ’This partnership

enables Fallon McElligott to go places and do things we couldn’t before

as an independent.’



The deal also includes Duffy Design and Interactive, the Fallon

McElligott design and e-commerce subsidiary, which was founded in

1987.



In the UK, the five managing partners will retain their shares in the

agency while the Fallon McElligott shares will be owned by Publicis. The

partners’ original stake in the London agency was 40 per cent, but they

are hoping to use their own money to increase this to 48 per cent.



Michael Wall, a managing partner at Fallon in London, said: ’We have

demonstrated that the Fallon brand can travel. We are a good

template.’



Levy has spoken to Louis Schweitzer, the chairman of Renault, a major

Publicis international client, about Fallon’s handling of BMW in North

America and Skoda in the UK. ’He sees no problem,’ Levy said.

’Advertisers accept that holding companies can have multiple networks.’



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