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
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.