McKinney chairman and CEO Brad Brinegar said taking the agency independent has been a goal of his since joining the shop in 2002. "I've spoken to the folks at Havas about it (every year) since then and clearly, over the last five years it wasn't a possibility they weren't willing to entertain, but this year we had a receptive audience."
Terms of the deal weren't disclosed and Brinegar wouldn't elaborate much further but to say, "It's a very amicable between us, with Havas actually providing much of the financing. Now all we have to do is perform so we can pay off that note. So it's good for them and good for us."
In terms of how this makes the agency better, Brinegar thinks it adds some distinct advantages that the agency had lacked. "Any company will benefit from having leaders with their skin in the game and the entrepreneurial energy that adds. From a business standpoint, I think it allows us to focus more on the things we do well and opens us up to a wider range of resources who have been a little hesitant to work with agencies that are within holding companies. Also, beyond paying for the agency, anything we earn stays with the agency and allows us to build our resources here instead of sending the profits off to a parent company."
Brinegar added that McKinney's client list, which includes the likes of Southern Comfort, Travelocity and Qwest, have been very supportive of the move.