MDC Partners acquires media firm RJ Palmer for $25 million

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MDC Partners acquired media agency RJ Palmer for $25 million including incentives, Miles Nadal, chairman and CEO of the Toronto-based holding company said on Jan. 5. Nadal said that acquisition closed in December.

“As we service Fortune 100 clients on a global basis, we need to be able to offer an integrated offering including media, and we think now is a very good time to embark on the expansion of our media presence. Now we have well over $1 billion worth of media —it's probably closer to $1.5 billion — and our goal is to make it a $5 to $10 billion business over the next five to 10 years,” Nadal said.

RJ Palmer will operate as an independent firm owned by MDC Partners. All employees are being retained. The New York-based agency's CEO Peter Knobloch will report to Nadal and MDC Partners' chief administrative officer David Dabill.

RJ Palmer's offerings include media planning and buying, as well as branded content and corporate bartering. The firm features clients such as Ben & Jerry's, Sherwin-Williams and Perdue Farms. MDC Partners estimated RJ Palmer's media billings at more than $800 million.

The acquisition of RJ Palmer “won't be our only presence in media,” said Nadal. “You'll look to see us be more acquisitive,” he said.

During MDC's second quarter earnings call, Nadal said the company was close to finalizing an acquisition to expand its international presence. Asked in September about the statement, Nadal said he expected the acquisition to close during the second half of 2011. Nadal said on Jan. 5 that the acquisition is expected to happen in 2012 but declined to go into specifics.

In September, MDC Partners bolstered its healthcare marketing capabilities with the majority-stake acquisition of Concentric Pharma Advertising. Also that month, the company acquired a majority stake in creative agency Laird and Partners.

MDC has majority ownership of agencies such as Crispin Porter and Bogusky, 72andSunny and Attention.

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