BtoB

Recession hasn't slowed b-to-b agency M&A deals

RECESSION TAKES TOLL

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While some agencies have been able to make deals recently, the recession is still taking its toll. Cathey Finlon, former chairman-CEO of Denver-based McClain Finlon, shut down her 26-year-old agency in August after a sale to the agency's president fell through. “My idea was always to sell it internally,” Finlon said. “I had planned for it for years, making sure the balance sheet was clean and the inventories were clear. I knew you needed to have sustainable management and put a superior team in place.” Despite these plans, the agency lost its biggest client, Qwest, in January 2008; then the economy started going sour. “It became more onerous for an internal buyer,” Finlon said. “As the economy worsened in July, it really became difficult.” Having survived two downturns, she said, there are opportunities for agencies in the current recession. “Being small and nimble is very advantageous right now—trying new things, experimenting, having grit and wanting your business to succeed,” she said. M
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