- The Interpublic Group has made one of the largest investments in new media made by the advertising industry, spending $20 million to acquire a minority stake in the Swedish firm, Icon Medialab.
Icon will now form a strategic alliance with IPG's McCann-Erickson network, the most immediate effects of which will be the merger of the two companies' operations in Norway.
At a later date, Icon may also work with IPG's other agency brands, Ammirati Purisa Lintas and Lowe & Partners Worldwide, but no date has been set.
The deal gives IPG just short of a 20 per cent stake in Icon and makes it the company's largest single shareholder. IPG has an option to increase its stake over time to 43.9 per cent.
IPG has been in talks with Icon for the last year and made a failed bid to acquire the firm last spring before Icon floated on the Swedish stock exchange.
The deal allows Icon, which has eight of its ten global offices in Europe, to expand in the US, where it will work with McCanns as its preferred new media supplier.
Franco Fedeli, chief executive officer at Icon, said: "We needed an American partner. It's a win win with IPG. They have the clients, but not the skill or the capacity. They could get the capacity, but this is a quick way."
In the UK, Icon has an office with 30 staff and clients including Fujitsu, the Financial Times, BP and Amersham Pharmacia Biotech.