Y&R London turns over management to London agency it has bought

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LONDON--Young & Rubicam is set to join the ranks of the 10 biggest agencies in the U.K. with the acquisition of privately-held Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe, which only opened its doors in London in 1993. Y&R ranks 16th in billings and Rainey Kelly 23rd, as of the 12 months to June 1999, according to U.K. researcher Media Monitoring Services. The combined agency will have estimated billings of $320 million.

RKCR executives will take over management of Y&R London to form Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R. M.T. Rainey and Jim Kelly will be joint creative executives of the new agency, while Robert Campbell and Mark Roalfe will be co-creative directors.

Toby Hoare, chief executive of Y&R London, will move to "a prominent new role'' within the Y&R Advertising network. Mike Cozens, the current Y&R London creative director, will become creative director of Y&R Europe. Other responsibilities within the merged operation will be determined later.

During its short existence, RKCR has worked for a number of high-profile U.K. clients, including the Virgin Group. In December 1997, it even got on the roster of a major multinational client with the win of General Motors Corp.'s $60 million Astra relaunch account for the whole of Europe except Germany. Since Y&R handles most of Ford Motor Co.'s business in Europe, RKCR has resigned the Astra account, which has returned to the Lowe Group in the U.K. and Germany. It's believed that McCann-Erickson Worldwide has won the account in the rest of Europe. McCann execs would not comment and GM Europe officials in Switzerland had not returned calls at press time.

Another possible client conflict has been resolved. The new agency will handle RKCR client Virgin Atlantic, while United Airlines will continue to reside with Y&R's European headquarters.

Ms. Rainey says of the sale: "This is the most exciting and energizing future we could have imagined for our brand: to be part of a real global network with a strong advertising pedigree, which still has a blue sky opportunity for revenue and reputation growth in the U.K."

Bruno Widmer, chairman of Y&R Europe, adds: "We are at the fulfillment of our dreams -- to reassert our place at the top table of U.K. agencies with partners who have demonstrated the highest levels of excellence in all aspects of their operations.''

Copyright August 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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