True North deal set to bolster network's global media offer

The acquisition of True North by Interpublic will solve the

problems faced by the former in establishing a strong global media

network, while the latter may decide to add a third network to its

international media presence.

In the UK, the deal throws into doubt the status of Banks Hoggins

O'Shea/FCB's recently acquired media operation MBS Media, which is

headed by Glenn Burton. MBS, the largest remaining independent operator,

was annexed to Banks Hoggins' in-house media division late last year as

part of True North's plans to build a European media network.

Observers say MBS, whose largest account is Norwich Union, may be

absorbed into Universal McCann, which would bring it closer to Norwich

Union's creative agency, McCann-Erickson.

It is unlikely that Initiative Media would acquire MBS since it is in

the process of merging with its sister media agency, Western. However,

IPG may choose to keep MBS as a separate entity in order to handle

account conflicts.

David Bell, the chairman and chief executive of True North, said it was

too early to comment on how the deal would affect the media operations

of the merged companies.

Senior industry sources suggested that the IPG/True North merger will

see the world's largest advertising body move closer towards MindShare's

'house of media' proposition.

IPG's chairman and chief executive, John Dooner, has shied away from

this model, but it is understood that he is now considering it for


The merger will not affect the acquisition of True North's remaining

stake in BJK&E by Tempus Group.