Client Woes Prompt Merger Talk In Ohio

A series of setbacks has accelerated merger talks between Ohio shops Fahlgren of Dublin and HMS Partners of Columbus.

Because of the bankruptcy of key clients Owens-Corning and Premier Cruise Line, Fahlgren CEO Steve Drongowski has stepped up efforts to merge with HMS, agency sources said.

“We’ve had discussions with Fahlgren,” confirmed Rick Milenthal, CEO of HMS. “There’s nothing to report right now, but it’s a great company, and I’d love to have a partnership with them.”

The shops share entertainment segment clients, and each maintains a Florida presence. Combined, their estimated billings would be around $350 million.

“They’re our biggest competitors in the Ohio area,” said one Fahlgren executive. “There are a lot of synergies. It’ll be a good merger.””