OMNICOM’S U.K. MEDIA AGENCIES COMBINE

Form OPera With $1.8 Billion in Claimed Billings

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Omnicom Group is combining the muscle of its three main London media agencies to create the U.K.'s biggest single buying group, according to the company.

OMD U.K. Group, Manning Gottlieb OMD and PHD Group are uniting under the OPera banner for media buying, as well as pooling research and information resources.

OPera will begin operation July 1, with a claimed $1.8 billion in U.K. billings, more than Group M, the centralized media buying network created by WPP Group last year.

No U.S. plans
Nick Manning, CEO of the OMD U.K., said, "There are genuinely no plans to extend OPera beyond the U.K. This has been talked about for a long period of time -- one of the catalysts has been me taking over the OMD Group, so I can now speak on behalf of MGM and OMD, and I've always been good chums with PHD."

Other agencies in the two shareholder groups that will also take advantage of the OPera banner are PHD Compass, Rocket and PHD Confidential.

No. 1 position
Mr. Manning added, "This is a highly sophisticated, very mature and competitive market and the opportunity to take the number one position was very tempting."

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