MDC BUYS INTO KIRSHENBAUM BOND & PARTNERS

60% Stake Valued at $75 Million

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Longtime independent New York ad agency Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners has sold a 60% stake to MDC Partners, the agency said today.

Specifics of the deal were not disclosed,

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although executives familiar with the deal put its value at around $75 million.

Kirshenbaum's clients include Andrew Jergens Co., Timex, Target, Meow Mix Co. and Verizon SuperPages. The company claims billings of more than $525 million and revenues approaching $50 million.

'Couldn't refuse'
"In every way, we felt this was an offer we couldn't refuse," agency co-founder Richard Kirshenbaum said. He cited MDC's people, their creative vision and the infusion of capital as chief reasons he and partner Jonathan Bond closed the transaction.

In a statement, MDC's chairman-CEO Miles Nadal said, "We definitely believe [Kirshenbaum] will enhance the MDC Partner network."

Toronto-based MDC Partners, which also has a stake in Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, and majority ownership of Margeotes Fertitta Partners, New York, has been buying into agencies for several months. MDC late last year was reported to have set aside $100 million for purchases. MDC is also believed to be courting another New York independent, Cliff Freeman & Partners.

Founded in 1987
Mr. Kirshenbaum said today that since founding their company in 1987 he and Mr. Bond have "talked to everybody. We've always had conversations." But the growth of their ad company, which includes media buying and planning outfit Media Kitchen; interactive shop Dot-Glu; and public relations and promotions unit Lime, has come from their own pockets. "We've done it on our own dime. We need extra cash to play on a larger playing field," he said.

The MDC investment will allow Messrs. Kirshenbaum and Bond to expand in a number of ways. They could possibly acquire a Hispanic or multicultural agency; open offices outside the U.S.; or open offices of Media Kitchen, Lime and Dot-Glu outside New York.

Kirshenbaum Bond is headquartered in Manhattan and has an office in San Francisco. Earlier this month, Kirshenbaum fired Nigel Carr, managing partner of the West Coast office; he was replaced with three new managing partners, and the office was reorganized with tighter ties to the Manhattan HQ.

Agency partners
In addition to the financial resources MDC brings, Mr. Kirshenbaum said being part of the Toronto holding company's group of agencies is appealing. "We'll have partners, and hopefully there will be possibilities for new business if one agency gets approached by a client but cannot take it on because of a conflict they'll send it to us and vice versa."

He said, however, that a prerequisite of the MDC deal was that Kirshenbaum Bond will retain its independence. "No one is interested in commingling the agency brands."

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