$31.5 Billion in Billings

WPP FORMS WORLD'S LARGEST MEDIA SERVICES COMPANY

MindShare and Mediaedge:cia Have New Parent Company: GroupM

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- WPP Group has created a new parent company called GroupM that will house its two
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Concept: Merge Media Edge and MindShare

media agencies, MindShare and Mediaedge:cia, forming the world's largest media services company.

$31.5 billion
GroupM will have $31.5 billion in billings, according to figures put out by RECMA, far surpassing the current worldwide billings leader, Starcom MediaVest Group, which according to RECMA claims total global billings of $18.4 billion. The Publicis Groupe media services company is made up of two media shops, Starcom Worldwide and MediaVest. RECMA is a Paris-based marketing research institute that monitors media activities in the world's major advertising/media markets.

Irwin Gotlieb, the CEO of MindShare Worldwide, was named CEO of GroupM, while Dominic Proctor, chief operating officer of MindShare Worldwide, assumes Mr. Gotlieb duties at the media shop. Rupert Day, chief financial officer of MindShare, will also have the same role at GroupM.

Name is surprise
The announcement is not unexpected, but the name is a surprise. Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, previously referred to the creation of this new media organization, giving it the name Gmec, as in Group MindShare Edge CIA. The new name, presumably, is easier to pronounce.

Executives at WPP, MindShare and Mediaedge:CIA were unavailable at press time for comment.

According to executives with knowledge of the arrangement, GroupM was created so that the two media shops could combine forces in creating new media strategy tools, eliminate back-office redundancies and leverage their combined billings clout. Meanwhile, the two separate brands create "Chinese walls" and avoid conflicts with clients. For example, this week, MindShare was awarded Burger King Corp.'s media planning and buying business, while Mediaedge:CIA already handles Yum Brands, which includes fast-food chains KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.

Upfront market In a trial run, MindShare and Mediaedge:CIA went to market together last year in the broadcast upfront TV ad market, effectively as Group MindShare Edge, leveraging over $12 billion in U.S. client billings.

Mr. Gotlieb will divide his duties between MindShare and Mediaedge:CIA, leaving the day-to-day operations of MindShare, which he created in 2000 by merging the media services of Ogilvy & Mather and J. Walter Thompson, to Mr. Proctor, who will remain based in London.

Mr. Gotlieb, Mr. Proctor and Mr. Day will join Charles Courtier, global executive chairman of Mediaedge:CIA; Mainardo De Nardis, CEO of Mediaedge:CIA Worldwide; and other WPP executives on a board that will oversee both companies at GroupM.

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