Joint Venture: IPG Sports' ex-chief nears Endeavor deal

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Outgoing Interpublic Sports & Entertainment Group Chairman-CEO Mark Dowley is closing in on a deal with talent agency Endeavor.

According to several agency executives, Mr. Dowley is negotiating a joint venture with the possibility of bringing onboard his former clients. Mr. Dowley is known to be close to American Express Co.'s John Hayes, exec VP-global advertising and brand management; AmEx has been an event-marketing client of McCann-Erickson WorldGroup's Momentum Worldwide.

The prospect of a deal with Mr. Dowley raises questions about the future role of Endeavor's marketing-solutions group, led by Jimmy Yaffe. The group lost two of key agents, brothers Mark and Erik Stroman, who left earlier this year to start a branded-entertainment company.

clouding the future

A pact with Endeavor would mean the culmination of Mr. Dowley's long-held ambition to become a mover in talent-agency circles. Endeavor represents stars such as Ben Affleck and Drew Barrymore; its most visible partner in the marketing space is Ari Emanuel.

Both Endeavor and Mr. Dowley declined to comment. A spokesman for Interpublic declined to comment; AmEx did not return a call at press time.

Mr. Dowley's exit clouds the future of Interpublic Sports & Entertainment Group. ISE&G Chief Operating Officer Doug Augustine, and Chief Financial Officer Jon Burleigh run three companies: PMK/HBH, Bragman Nyman Cafarelli and Octagon Sports.

Mr. Dowley began his tenure at Interpublic in June 1996, when he sold his event-marketing firm Ad:vent to the company. By 1997 he had risen to chairman-CEO of Momentum and was charged with opening offices all over the world and making a series of acquisitions. Mr. Dowley spearheaded the acquisition of Hollywood A-list agency PMK, which later merged with PR shop HBH.

Mr. Dowley also worked on event-marketing programs for the likes of AT&T Corp., Coca-Cola Co. and General Motors Corp. He continued to rise within McCann-Erickson under the watch of then-Interpublic Chairman-CEO John Dooner, now chairman-CEO of McCann-Erickson WorldGroup. Mr. Dowley eventually became vice chairman of McCann-Erickson before being named head of S&EG in early 2002.

The group Mr. Dowley ran includes the troubled Octagon Motor Sports division. For the six months ended June 30 of last year, Interpublic reported the S&EG unit posted operating losses of $45.3 million on revenue of $189.1 million.

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