Burnett Buys Into The Southwest




Acquisition of TFA Gives Global Force First Foothold in the Region
BOSTON–Chicago-based TFA Communications, a high-tech business-to-business shop with offices in Boston and Dallas, was acquired last week by Leo Burnett of Chicago.
The Dallas office, opened three years ago, will operate under the new TFA/Leo Burnett Technology banner and begin pursuing larger clients throughout the Southwest, according to director of business development Curtis Young.
Terms of the deal, which gives Burnett its first foothold in the region, were not disclosed.
Young said the eight-person Dallas office’s new business efforts have been concentrated primarily in its home market, Houston, and Austin, Texas. He said he expects that geography to expand and believes the Burnett name will help it gain access to larger new business pitches.
TFA Communications also gains access to the resources of Burnett’s $6 billion global agency network. TFA’s high-tech competitors in the Southwest include M/C/C in Dallas and SicolaMartin in Austin.
Carl Triemstra, president of the Dallas office, will continue in that post. Clients in Dallas include 3M, Motorola and Pervasive Software.
A TFA representative would not disclose billings for the Dallas office but said the high-tech specialty shop has nationwide billings of $68 million.
Sean Bisceglia, who founded TFA in Chicago seven years ago, remains chief executive of the overall agency, which will function as a separate business unit within Leo Burnett. Bisceglia also becomes an executive vice president of the parent company.
The Boston outpost, established three years ago and led by president Jeffrey Winsper, works for clients such as Avid Technology. Winsper will continue to oversee the office.
TFA plans to open a San Francisco location later this year.
TFA and Burnett are familiar with each other due to their mutual presence in Chicago and through a shared client, said Linda Wolf, president of Leo Burnett North America. Burnett handles Motorola’s semiconductor business, and TFA works with the firm’s personal computer group.
“With the exception of Motorola, [Burnett’s] technology credentials have been relatively underdeveloped,” Wolf said.