BOSTON-Last week’s sale of Mullen to the Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Lowe Group ends founder Jim Mullen’s quest to find a buyer and spreads the proceeds from the sale to nearly all of Mullen’s 200-plus employees.
Mullen called Lowe chairman Frank Lowe, to whom he will report directly, the “most passionate executive about creative I’ve ever met” and said the two share a similar “world vision … I met someone whose organization I admire,” Mullen said. “This allows me to fulfill a dream.”
Mullen would not reveal the terms of the deal, but sources estimated that Lowe paid $40-50 million in a combination of cash and stock for its 75 percent stake in the shop, which posted $38 million in revenues last year. As the majority shareholder, Mullen himself is expected to reap the lion’s share.
While declining to discuss the specifics of his contract, Mullen said he will remain at the helm for “at least another year or two.”
Mullen will retain its name, management team and, under the terms of a recently signed 10-year lease, continue to operate from its stately home in the woods of Wenham, Mass.
Though most employees will share in the sale’s riches, the shop will be “increasingly discerning” about who shares in future profits, according to an internal memo issued last week and obtained by Adweek. Shares will be granted only to employees of “unusually high performance, regardless of longevity,” Mullen said. ƒ