McKinney now becomes part of Cheil Americas, the regional network of agencies, led by Buz Sawyer as CEO. Brad Brinegar remains CEO of McKinney, which will maintain its headquarters in Durham, N.C.
McKinney brought in $37.4 million in revenue in 2011, down 6.5% from the year prior, according to Ad Age 's DataCenter.
Havas purchased McKinney, which has been in business for 45 years, in spring 2001 from consultancy MarchFirst for an estimated $30 to $35 million. The terms of the buyback in June 2008 were not disclosed but Mr. Brinegar said at the time it was a lengthy negotiation with Havas.
The acquisition of McKinney gives the Korean network another building block in its plan to bulk up its presence in the West, both in terms of geography and capabilities. Late last year it launched a joint venture with Omnicom Group to create a new U.K. media agency BMB Media. Before that , Cheil took a majority stake in U.S. digital shop Barbarian Group not long after purchasing a stake in London creative agency Beattie McGuinness Bungay in 2008.