Miles Nadal, MDC chairman, president and CEO, said Mr. Porter is currently a consultant to MDC, and indicated that role may grow. "He's a consultant and has been helping us with the architecture." When asked if Mr. Porter might be joining the company, Mr. Nadal responded, "Not yet."
Mr. Porter confirmed that he is in talks with MDC: "It is being negotiated in that they are calling me and asking, `Will you take a wider role?"' Mr. Porter said that he had no desire for a formal title, "I'd be perfectly happy with no title or being an adviser."
The desire to get Mr. Porter on board at MDC stems from the parent company's decision last month to wind down Maxxcom, which had been majority owned by MDC but traded separately. MDC is currently traded on Nasdaq. The company confirmed that Maxxcom President-CEO Harold Reiter has left the Toronto-based company.
The talks follow Crispin Porter negotiating with MDC a new ownership agreement that was struck some time between the end of last year and April of 2003. That agreement continues its relationship with MDC through 2008. MDC now owns 49% of the agency and has an option to acquire more. If it does, that would trigger a new earn-out period for the partners, Mr. Porter explained. Likewise the Crispin Porter & Bogusky partners (Alex Bogusky, executive creative director; Jeff Hicks, president; and Jeff Steinhour, partner-director, account services) have "put and call" options which allow them to acquire more MDC shares.
Mr. Porter stressed that whatever role he ends up taking at MDC, he will remain as chairman of Crispin Porter & Bogusky, an agency that swept the award shows this year, mainly for its work for Ikea and the launch of BMW's Mini Cooper.
MDC Corp, which will change its name to MDC Partners on Jan. 1, 2004, is looking to identify acquisition targets in the U.S.
"We are very interested in the U.S. and I think you'll see more expansion," said Mr. Nadal who declined to comment on whether there are any ongoing negotiations with potential targets.
According to its Web site, MDC owns stakes in seven U.S. marketing communications firms, including Margeotes/Fertitta & Partners, New York, and Colle & McVoy, Minneapolis.