|$100 million later, Chris Ingram is back in the marketing communications business.
Ingram, the London company Mr. Ingram formed in 2003, has acquired Consumer Dynamics, a SoHo-based boutique specializing in consumer insights, product innovations and trends analysis.
“They’ve got a client list to die for,” said Mr. Ingram, speaking to AdAge.com on his cell phone while tending his garden late Friday afternoon in London. Founded 12 years ago, Consumer Dyamics’ projects over the years have included consulting for consumer products giant Gillette on the introduction of its female razor, Venus; aiding Mead Johnson in the launch of calcium soft-chews Viactiv and consulting Sara Lee Intimates on the repositioning of its Wonderbra lingerie line.
New practice area
The deal brings to his firm a new practice area, marketing strategy and product development, which Mr. Ingram expects to meld with Ingram’s specialties of communications and brand strategy.
Mr. Ingram, not a stranger to lists of the U.K.’s wealthiest people (just in April, The Sunday Times of London included him on its annual Rich List), launched his company nearly two years ago with a plan to help clients improve organic growth, largely through brand- and communications strategy; in the past 23 months, the firm has concluded projects for such clients has the London 2012 Olympic bid; Mercedes-Benz, Twentieth Century Fox and Diageo.
Ingram company roots
Financial terms were not disclosed, although Mr. Ingram has said since launching his eponymously named firm that he’s committed nearly $20 million to build it. Ingram was created through the acquisition of three companies -- Unity, a strategic media agency; The Gathering, a brand consultancy; and brand strategy concern Butterfield8 -- which were then merged.
"This brings us into high-end strategic consulting,” said Mr. Ingram. He hired Steve Gundersen, an industry consultant, recruiter and CEO of Gundersen Partners in New York, to help him canvass the East Coast for prospective targets. The search narrowed to 15 companies, and ended with the deal announced today.
Consumer Dynamics’ managing partners Nancy Schaefer and Sybil Wailand will join Ingram’s International Group Board, and the company’s name will eventually be replaced by Ingram. The 11-person staff in New York City will work alongside employees in Ingram’s London headquarters.
In 1976, Mr. Ingram started Chris Ingram Associates, a media buying and planning company that grew into the publicly traded Tempus Group, the largest unit of which was its CIA Worldwide division, with offices in almost 30 countries. WPP Group bought it after a protracted -- and widely watched takeover battle that included a failed attempt by WPP to withdraw from the deal -- for $750 million. Mr. Ingram left WPP in mid 2002.
Mr. Ingram personally netted $100 million from the sale.