WPP unveils The Media Edge <BR>and CIA merger details

LONDON - The WPP Group has unveiled plans for the merger of its newly acquired media-buying agency CIA with The Media Edge, naming Charles Courtier and Mainardo de Nardis as the senior executives.

The new company will be called Mediaedge:CIA and has combined billings of £12bn. Courtier, who was global CEO of TME, will take the role of executive chairman and de Nardis, formerly global CEO of CIA, will become CEO at the new company.

Beth Gordon, currently chairman of TME, will become chairman of WPP's media holding company, while continuing to assist Mediaedge:CIA. The changes come in to effect from January 1 2002.

WPP acquired CIA last month when it bought Tempus Group after a drawn-out bid process. One of the reasons the City responded favourably to the deal, despite WPP paying over the odds for Tempus, was the fit between the two media-buying companies and the global coverage it gives to WPP's media operations.

CIA is a strong brand in Europe, with 57 offices in 28 markets worldwide. TME has 103 offices in 78 countries and is strong in the US and Latin America.

Courtier said: "Our pooled skills, resources and volume will mean that our ability to connect brands with consumers will be further strengthened."

Because of the bitterness of the takeover process, industry commentators are keen to see how executives from WPP and Tempus will work together.

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