INTEREST FROM WPP, CARAT
The pairing comes after months of speculation about who would partner with Media Buying Services. Executives close to Media Buying Services said WPP Group and Carat International earlier had expressed interest in the Canadian company.
Media Buying Services will continue to operate a company under that name as a separate, 100% Canadian-owned unit, enabling it to handle governmental business.
Since being established on a worldwide basis in July 1995, with billings of $3 million, Grey's MediaCom has continued to expand. In August 1995, MediaCom entered the Asia-Pacific region; in November 1996, it expanded into Argentina, Australia, India and Malaysia.
MediaCom opened offices in Latin America in the beginning of this year, and global billings are now an estimated $8 billion.
"I want to be in the top five, ideally the top three, in media operations in every country that we operate," said Alec Gerster, chairman of MediaCom Worldwide.
Although he wouldn't discuss specifics, Mr. Gerster said, "We've been looking at acquisitions in Europe."
RESEARCH HAD APPEAL
The systems and research capabilities of MediaCom were of great appeal to Media Buying Services, said Peter Swain, president of Media Buying Services and chairman of Media Company/MBS.
"I needed a partner that has deep pockets, expertise in research and proprietary systems and software," he said.
He added that the partnership will help current Media Buying Services clients-which include Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine, BMW Canada, Evian and Pillsbury Canada-with their global needs.
"Not only do they get the expertise that we offered in Canada, but what we can do now is offer them international muscle, which will help them in the future," Mr. Swain said.