Hakuhodo Acquires Stake in MRGL

NEW YORK Japanese company Hakuhodo has bought a 49 percent stake in McCaffery Ratner Gottlieb & Lane after courting the agency since March, shop president William McCaffery confirmed.

While the sale allows Hakuhodo to broaden its U.S. offerings, the alliance will give MRGL the chance to tap into Asian markets, McCaffrey said. Hakuhodo also owns a stake in Mendelsohn|Zien Advertising in Santa Monica, Calif.

“We always worked on more large-agency-scale accounts for what, in today’s terms, is a smaller agency,” McCaffery said. “But in pitching, we found we were up against the giants … and we just didn’t cut it when it came to global capabilities.”

MRGL, whose clients include Olympus microscopes, Nature’s Best and GE Appliances, hope to take on stateside work for Hakuhodo clients such as Japanese pharmaceutical giant Kobayashi and electronics company Hitachi, among others. Eight staffers from Hakuhodo’s now-defunct New York office moved into MRGL offices today, McCaffery said.

The shop will keep its name, and executive duties will largely remain the same, though some titles will change. McCaffery, 65, a managing partner, will become president. Managing partner Jerry Gottlieb, 56, will take on the title of chairman and chief executive. They will be part of a management committee along with Haruhiko Jitsukawa, general manager of Tokyo-based Hakuhodo.

MRGL claims annual billings of $100 million. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.