Aegis Group, the holding company for Carat, has sealed its presence
in the US with two new acquisitions this week, at the same time
announcing an increase in pre-tax profits for 1996.
Aegis has snapped up the media buying company, International
Communications Group (ICG), and the marketing and media consultancy,
Media Marketing Assessment (MMA), in a two-pronged offensive that will
cost the company pounds 32 million.
ICG has nine offices in the US, including Los Angeles, Atlanta and San
Francisco, and billings of around dollars 450 million from a client
portfolio that incorporates Homebase and DHL. MMA, which provides media
and marketing effectiveness advice, has a client list that includes
Kraft Foods and Kellogg.
Both now become part of Carat North America and sit alongside Media
Buying Services, the New York-based media buying specialist which Aegis
acquired last year.
Carat North America now has combined billings of dollars 650 million, a
260-strong staff base and offices in 11 cities. In the short term, the
acquired companies will retain their original identities. Ultimately
they will take on some form of Carat branding, though they are likely to
continue to be run as separate companies.
Ray Kelly, the chairman and chief executive of Carat UK, said the
company was unlikely to make any further media buying acquisitions in
the US. ’What we intend to do, though, is to take the time to develop
the business organically, and ultimately encourage our clients to use us
in the US as well as Europe.’
The acquisition announcement came as Carat unveiled an 18 per cent
increase in pre-tax profits for 1996, with turnover up 2 per cent to
pounds 3.45 billion and income up 9 per cent to pounds 179.5 million,
giving margins of 5.2 per cent, up from 4.9 per cent on last year.