FCB keeps searching for second network, crosses off Chiat/Day

Foote, Cone & Belding Communications’ drive to add a second, separate network still is in full gear, but one agency said to be entertaining overtures–Chiat/Day– apparently has been crossed off the list for now.
Instead, FCB chairman/ceo Bruce Mason is said to be in discussions with at least two agencies that could fit into the agency system without the problem of a possible client conflict with FCB’s Mazda business, according to sources, and not necessarily with a singular New York presence, where its Publicis office is basing its U.S. operations.
FCB officials wouldn’t comment directly on any acquisition talks, but didn’t rule out that it would seek a second network. “We continue to examine a variety of options . . . to accelerate our growth,” an agency spokesperson said.
FCB apparently wants to set up a second network with an agency that wouldn’t give the agency as many headaches as would a union with Nissan agency Chiat/Day.
“There are no talks whatsoever anymore with Chiat,” said a source. “The whole deal would be too cumbersome.” An FCB spokesperson said that the agency is not talking to Chiat/Day at this time.
But the desire to buy is clear. “They want to be a major world player, it’s as simple as that,” said Jim Dougherty, an analyst with Dean Witter in New York. “This would give them the capacity to take on conflicting businesses, like many of the big agency networks have done. They’re in good shape financially, so I’d say this is a good time to do it.”
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