B Com3 restructures media buying setup

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B Com3 Group, Chicago, on May 1 unveiled a worldwide restructuring plan for its two giant media buying groups, Starcom Worldwide and MediaVest Worldwide. The two will continue to operate independently in North America and the U.K., but combine in certain other markets, where the merged operation will operate under the Starcom name. A new holding company, Starcom MediaVest Group, was created to oversee the two media buying organizations. The holding company will have a three-person "chief executive team"--two drawn from Starcom and one from MediaVest. Starcom Worldwide CEO Jack Klues, 45, also will be group CEO for the holding company. Starcom Chief Operating Officer Bob Brennan, 41, will be chief operating officer for the holding company. Kevin Malloy, 36, will the holding company's exec VP-international operations and was named CEO of MediaVest North America, a new post, from exec VP-global chief operating officer, MediaVest. B Com3 said MediaVest CEO Mike Moore, 62, will resume an earlier retirement effective July 1, but continue to serve on the new holding company's board.

Advertising Age first reported outlines of the plan in February, but the new announcement provides many more details. The Starcom and MediaVest media units came under the B Com3 umbrella through last year's merger of Leo Group, parent of Leo Burnett Co., and MacManus Group, parent of D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles). Dentsu subsequently purchased a 20% stake in B Com3.

In addition, media buying in Brazil and Puerto Rico will continue to be handled in-house as part of full-service offerings by local Leo Burnett Co. and D'Arcy agencies. Likewise, existing media buying consortia agreements in such markets as Italy, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and Taiwan will not be affected.

In March, Starcom and MediaVest operations were merged in Mexico City. A strategic plan for Starcom and MediaVest units in other countries is being developed on a country-by-country basis. B Com3 said any mergers that result from the review would be completed by Jan. 1.

B Com3 said Starcom Worldwide had 1999 global billings of $8.6 billion and ranked as one of the top three media specialists in the Americas and Asia-Pacific. MediaVest Worldwide, which includes TeleVest and the unbundled media resources of D'Arcy and N.W. Ayer & Partners, had global billings of $8 billion in 1999.

Copyright May 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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