Michigan Agency Renamed; Retains Clients and Assets

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NEW YORK ( -- Executives at Fitch Ann Arbor, Mich., have bought the assets of the ad agency from London-based conglomerate Cordiant Communications Group and taken the business private, sibling Crain's Detroit Business reported.

The agency is now called re:group. President-CEO Janet Muhleman said that after several years of ownership and management changes at Fitch, it made sense to buy back the local business.

Staffers take stake
"We didn't really fit where [Cordiant]

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wanted to go," said Ms. Muhleman, who is the majority owner of re:group. A handful of other senior staff members have a stake in the agency as well, she said. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Re:group kept its client roster, 20 employees and the assets of its office. Clients include the University of Michigan Health System, Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops, Japanese franchiser Duskin and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority. Ms. Muhleman said the agency will market itself mostly to southeast Michigan and Midwest clients.

Re:group reported $22 million in billings for 2002 and revenue of just more than $3 million.

The agency began as Group 243 before it went through different reincarnations as part of Ross Roy Communications, then Omnicom Group and then Fitch. As Group 243, the agency helped Domino's Pizza grow from more than 85 outlets to more than 5,000.

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