Starcom and Motive renew merger

Leo Burnett is finalising plans to merge its UK media operation, Starcom, with Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s Motive, 18 months after the original merger talks between the two media shops collapsed.

Leo Burnett is finalising plans to merge its UK media operation,

Starcom, with Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s Motive, 18 months after the

original merger talks between the two media shops collapsed.



The renewed proposals come despite the recent merger between Burnett,

MacManus and Dentsu to form BDM, which ignited speculation that Starcom

would tie up with MacManus’s MediaVest in the UK.



Burnett vigorously denied the suggestion at the time and it now seems

that plans for a UK merger between Motive and Starcom were already being

laid when the BDM deal was announced.



Mark Cranmer, the managing director of Motive, is understood to have

been lined up to run Starcom across Europe.



When Burnett acquired 49 per of BBH at the end of 1997, the deal

included a commitment to merge the two companies’ media brands, but the

plan faltered over politics and personality clashes. Now a full merger

is back in play.



Merging the two media agencies would create a pounds 350 million billing

media specialist which would potentially be a top five player in the UK

market.



However, the plans now have to be formally approved by the rest of BDM

and could yet be revised.



Cranmer admitted that a merger between Motive and Starcom was again on

the table. ’We are talking and every possibility is being discussed. But

nothing can categorically be decided for some time,’ he said.



No-one at Starcom was available for comment as Campaign went to press.



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