Frankfurt Balkind sold

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Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, New York, is buying branding and design firm Frankfurt Balkind in a deal the agencies say will provide clients with more consistent and effective guidance from conception to execution.

Terms were not disclosed for Frankfurt Balkind, an independent ranked the 103rd largest agency brand in 2001 by Advertising Age, with $21.6 million in U.S. gross income. The shop has offices in New York and Los Angeles, and after the sale, Frankfurt Balkind will be housed in Hill Holliday's New York office and will become the branding center for the Interpublic Group of Cos. shop. Frankfurt Balkind will retain its name, and president Aubrey Balkind will continue to run it.

About 70 people work at Frankfurt Balkind, whose clients include Sony Corp. of America, Pitney Bowes and Knight Ridder. Executives said staff duplication is minimal and layoffs are being assessed. Frankfurt Balkind's West Coast office, which specializes in movie advertising and promotions, is not part of the deal. It is being spun off and will be owned by Mr. Balkind and Peter Bemis, a principal in that office. It will be renamed Bemis Balkind.

David Kessler, managing director of Hill Holliday, New York, said clients benefit when a single team works on a piece of business. "Whether you call it holistic marketing or integration or you call it coherence, it's the idea that everyone who is working on a brand understands it. ... It eliminates the not-invented-here syndrome [that occurs] when a client takes its brand from an idea shop to an advertising agency," he said.

"The world is getting a lot smaller, so we were having a difficult time competing on global accounts," said Mr. Balkind. "We think that with Hill Holliday and Interpublic, that will be a great advantage to us."

Hill Holliday had $125 million in U.S. gross income last year; $25.6 million of the total came from marketing services.

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