Omnicom, 180 Seal the Deal

NEW YORK Omnicom Group has reached an agreement to buy a majority stake in hot shop 180, the holding company said today.

The deal ends months of negotiations and years of flirtation between the two.

180 is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Founded in 1998 by managing partners Alex Melvin, Guy Hayward and Chris Mendola, 180’s management lineup is completed by managing partner Peter Cline and executive creative directors Andy Fackrell and Richard Bullock.

“Led by an outstanding management team, 180 is at the leading edge of international creativity,” said John Wren, CEO of Omnicom, in a statement.

The agency is expected to function as a global creative resource for Omnicom, which is likely to help 180 expand into multiple markets. Even before the deal, 180 planned to open an office in Los Angeles to serve Sony Electronics, a new client the agency shares with Omnicom’s BBDO.

Other clients that 180 shares with Omnicom agencies include Motorola (with BBDO, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and Siegal + Gale) and Adidas (with TBWA). That said, the shop is expected to stand on its own, unattached to any Omnicom agency network. As such, 180 will be able to pursue business that conflicts with other Omnicom agencies.

Omnicom and 180 executives have discussed a deal since last summer [Adweek, June 26]. At the time, sources said that the holding company had been eyeing the agency since late 2001, when 180 teamed with TBWA to win the estimated $100 million global Adidas account.