*Leo Group, MacManus Merge; Direct Entities to Remain Separate

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Independent advertising agencies The Leo Group, Chicago, and The MacManus Group, New York, jointly announced a merger yesterday that likely won't signal changes for their direct divisions.


The combined entity boasts more than $1.7 billion in annual revenues, making it the fourth largest global advertising company behind Omnicom Group, the Interpublic Group of Cos. and WPP Group. The holding company will be temporarily referred to as BDM, with headquarters in Chicago. Dentsu Inc., Tokyo, the fifth largest advertising company worldwide, also will take a 20 percent ownership stake in the new entity.


Leo Burnett NorthStar, a unit of Leo Burnett, which formalized its direct marketing arm this summer, has clients including Oldsmobile, Disney, Eli Lilly, and Maytag. D'Arcy Marketing Communications Group, formed recently as a network of marketing communications companies within MacManus, will include Clarion Marketing and Communications, Highway One, D'Arcy Directory Marketing and IMP in Europe.


Wendy Riches, previously president of global direct marketing and e-commerce at Hasbro, was named president of D'Arcy Marketing Communications Group. Both direct units will likely continue to run as separate entities of the merged advertising giant. "This agreement is one day old," said a spokeswoman for Pete Volz, chairman/CEO of Leo Burnett NorthStar. "We need to see what synergies exist and how to deploy these resources." She said that could include no changes at all.


Leo Group and MacManus share clients including Coca-Cola, General Motors, and Procter & Gamble.
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