Burnetts postpones BBH media merger as Motive talks stall

Talks between Leo Burnett and Bartle Bogle Hegarty about a media merger have stalled following a dispute over staff and structure.

Talks between Leo Burnett and Bartle Bogle Hegarty about a media

merger have stalled following a dispute over staff and structure.



Leo Burnett’s acquisition of a 49 per cent stake in BBH at the end of

last year sparked plans for a joint UK media operation, bringing

together BBH’s Motive and Burnetts’ media department (Campaign, 9

January).



However, Burnetts has told staff and clients that talks have been called

off, although in the long term it is committed to working with

Motive.



Burnetts is in talks with DMB&B in the US about a global joint media

venture (Campaign, 6 March) and talks are said to have gathered pace in

recent weeks. However, any deal with DMB&B would not preclude

consolidation with Motive.



But discussions between Motive’s chiefs and Burnetts’ media team have

foundered, with Burnetts’ media department said to be reluctant to give

up its in-house status, having established strong relationships with a

number of blue-chip clients.



Jeff Fergus, Burnetts’ group president for Europe, Middle East, Africa

and Asia, said: ’We’ve explored ways of co-operating, but we’re not

doing anything in the short term. The discussions are complex and we

need to take our time.’



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