Aegis shows its strength with two US acquisitions and rise in profits

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 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.



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