The Lowe Group is planning to launch a pan-European media network in a
joint venture partnership with its Interpublic sister agency, Initiative
It has yet to be decided whether Western International Media, the US
media giant bought by Interpublic in 1994, will be part of the deal
first revealed by Campaign last week. Discussions with Western
International continue and an agreement will be finalised in September
(Campaign, 5 July).
Marie-Jose Forissier, Initiative Media Worldwide’s chief executive, said
the joint venture would be implemented differently market by market. ‘In
some countries Initiative is too big and this will give us the chance to
diversify our growth,’ she said.
Forissier denied the move was designed to give the two agencies more
leverage with media owners: ‘Obviously if two companies come together we
will try to find synergies. But we run our business not by agency deals
but by client-by-client philosophies.’
Lowes laid out its plans in its pitch for the centralised TSB/Lloyds
media business last Monday. Those present at the pitch were asked to
keep the plans secret until the deal was finalised. Frank Lowe, the Lowe
Group chairman, refused to comment on what he dismissed as ‘speculation’
and Jerry Judge, Lowe Howard-Spink’s chief executive, was unavailable
Lowe Howard-Spink has eschewed the idea of combining its media
department with that of its fellow IPG agency, McCann-Erickson, under
the Universal banner. And, in December last year, Campaign revealed it
was considering hiving off its media department in a bid to increase its
media clout (Campaign, 8 December 1995).
In the past few months, the agency has conducted talks with the media
independent, Pattison Horswell Durden, which in May was bought by Abbott
Mead Vickers BBDO, and most recently with CIA Medianetwork.
Western International, the US’s second largest media buying operation
with billings of about dollars 1.6 billion, was bought by Interpublic
two years ago for dollars 50 million.