Mad Dogs Buyback

Mad Dogs & Englishmen has bought back its independence from Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners and hired a new CEO, seeking to expand annual billings from its current $80 million.
Jeff Soinski has joined the shop as CEO and managing partner, from ViroTex Corp., a pharmaceutical company in The Woodlands, Texas, where he was president and CEO. Terms of the buyout were undisclosed, but all equity owned by KB&P has been regained.
Soinski becomes an equal partner with chief strategic officer Robin Hafitz and chief creative officer Nick Cohen, who said the arrangement will enable the shop to offer equity to incoming talent.
“Now we can take the equity and keep it within the company to help us grow,” Cohen said. “It’s going to allow us to self-propel ourselves. If you want to get great people to come, they’re going to want a piece of the action.”
Founded in 1991, Mad Dogs is known for its strategic, quirky creative campaigns for such former clients as The Economist, Thom McAn and TV Land, and current clients Yoo-hoo and MovieFone. In the last six months, the agency has also added ScreamingMedia, BigStar.com, Vault.com and Art.net, whose combined billings are about $25 million.
When Jonathan Bond and Richard Kirshenbaum, KB&P co-chairmen, bought a combined 15 percent stake in the shop in 1993, Mad Dogs had annual billings of $3 million. “The timing is right for them to be completely independent,” Kirshenbaum said last week.
He and Bond invested in the shop after finding that they continually referred clients to Mad Dogs, due to KB&P roster conflicts.
“We still have a wonderful relationship,” Kirshenbaum said of Mad Dogs. “I think they have an enormous future ahead of them.”
Sources said KB&P is profiting from the deal, while Mad Dogs now has the freedom to grow and restructure its management.
Soinski said he will initially focus on bringing more integrated branding and communications to current clients. He added that in the long term, he wants the shop to help clients expand their branding efforts in new media. To that end, Mad Dogs also hired Stephanie Pappas, a former media director at DiNoto Lee, as a senior media strategist. K