WPP's Group M Acquires IEG

Adds Sponsorship Expertise to Media Shops

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Group M, WPP's umbrella media investment management company, added Chicago-based IEG today to its lineup of holdings that already includes MindShare, MediaCom and Mediaedge:cia.

IEG, a leader in sponsorship consulting and sponsorship information services, survived independently for 23 years. "We felt it was necessary for the future of IEG to really put ourselves in a position where we could grow through tapping the resources of a new network," said Jim Andrews, IEG's senior VP. The finances of the deal were not disclosed.

Too early for speculation
It is too early in the process for IEG to speculate on the use of specific WPP resources, Mr. Andrews said, but he added that IEG executives liked GroupM's offer because of its understanding of IEG's business. "They really understood sponsorship and how it is a unique form of marketing communications and that was important to us, that in essence we were going to be joining a group that understood what we are all about," Mr. Andrews said.

GroupM sees sponsorship as key to diversifying its business. "Sponsorship is a channel of communication that media agencies are increasingly involved in and that we develop for our clients," said Charles Courtier, executive chairman of Mediaedge:cia, speaking on behalf of GroupM North America.

With the inclusion of IEG, "our capabilities and our resources in the area of sponsorship are now much greater than they were before," Mr. Courtier said.

No personnel changes took place except a few title changes at the top, including IEG Co-founder Lesa Ukman (she was president and now becomes chairman) and her sister Laren Ukman (formerly managing director of IEG sponsorship services and now CEO).
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