Mercury Media, ARM merge to form indie DRTV media buying giant

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Mercury Media and Advanced Results Marketing have merged to create one of the country's leading independent direct response media buying agencies, with strengths in short- and long-form television.

The agencies will retain their individual identities under a new holding company called Mercury Media Holdings. The merged holding firm will have gross billings of more than $350 million.

"This is real media dollars and it translates to relationships with media, pricing, avails in the time periods where we have incumbency, and the biggest one is the database, the research," said Steve Nober, new CEO of Mercury Media Holdings, Santa Monica, CA.

Eos Partners, a New York-based private equity firm with more than $2 billion in management, bought Mercury Media in March 2006. It followed that purchase earlier this month with the ARM acquisition and then promptly merged the agencies.

New York investment bank Petsky Prunier LLC advised ARM, Marlboro, MA.

Mercury Media handles clients such as Guthy-Renker, Beach Body, Cuisinart and Black & Decker. It is a specialist in long-form DRTV media buying.

ARM's roster has names like, Carvel and the Nevada Commission on Tourism. It specializes in short form.

"By putting together the two disciplines - long form and short form - we're creating the largest diversified independent DRTV media buying agency in a very segmented and growing market," said Beth Vendice, who will continue to serve as divisional president of ARM.

Mercury Media founders Dan Danielson and John Cabrina become co-chairmen of Mercury Media Holdings. They will also run the Mercury Media division.

Offering clients and prospects a fully integrated direct response media buying service was a key rationale for the merger.

"This helps bridge the gap for general agencies to begin the move toward understanding direct response and integrating their budgets," Mr. Nober said.

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