Leo Group, MacManus finalize BDM merger

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Leo Group, Chicago, and MacManus Group, New York, have finalized their agreement to merge at the holding company level as scheduled, creating BDM. The new holding company has more than $1.7 billion in annual revenue, with more than 500 operating units in 90 countries, employing more than 16,000 people. Terms of the agreement weren't disclosed. The deal between the two privately held companies was first announced Nov. 3. The merged company will pursue a public offering of shares within the next 12 to 18 months. Dentsu, Tokyo, the world's largest single agency brand, will take about a 20% stake in the new company in the first quarter. Dentsu, also privately held, has said it plans a public offering of its shares in the future. The individual ad agency brands under BDM include Leo Group's Leo Burnett Co. and Bartle Bogle Hegarty, as well as MacManus' N.W. Ayer & Partners, D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and Kaplan Thaler Group. All will continue to operate as separate units. As a media services holding company including Starcom Worldwide and MediaVest Worldwide, BDM will handle billings of more than $14 billion. BDM initially will have a four-person board consisting of BDM officers: Chairman Roy Bostock, 59, formerly MacManus chairman; Vice Chairman Richard B. Fizdale, 60, formerly Leo Group chairman; CEO Roger A. Haupt, 52, formerly Leo Group president-CEO; and President-Chief Operating Officer Craig Brown, 48, formerly MacManus chief operating officer. Dentsu is expected also to have two representatives on the board.

Copyright February 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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