Purchase of St. George Gives Pittsburgh Agency a Media Arm
CHICAGO–Media veteran Pat Cuda and SGM Media Services were the plum assets Marc USA saw in the St. George Group, which it acquired last week.
Although SGM, Detroit, is small, with just 10 employees and about $80 million in billings, Marc chairman and chief executive officer Tony Bucci foresees it as the media arm of his growing network, structured along the lines of Starcom and its holding company Bcom3, Bucci said.
SGM will remain under the leadership of Cuda, who started the unit for St. George in 1998 after 20 years in media with Ross Roy and other Detroit shops.
SGM is expected to work with Marc on a per-client basis while seeking its own growth as a stand-alone company, Bucci said. The company will keep its name for now, he said.
“The Detroit office will be the anchor, although they will have tentacles in all the other offices” of Marc, Bucci said.
Marc acquired fellow Pittsburgh agency the St. George Group in a cash and stock deal, terms of which Bucci declined to disclose.
St. George, a 15-year-old business that claims billings of $60 million, will be ab-sorbed by Marc and move its ad operations into Marc’s offices. Marc’s corporate headquarters, however, will move into St. George’s space.
George Garber, the agency’s president, will become executive vice president of marketing at Marc. Garber said all of the shop’s 50 employees will keep their jobs under the new ownership.
The acquisition comes at a tough time for the agency. St. George recently lost its largest client, a portion of Transitions Optical’s $80 million global account which last week remained in review. That loss follows the loss last year of its $15 million Essilor of America business. The company’s clients, which are expected to move to Marc, include NutriPharma/ScanDiet, Traco windows and doors and Walnut Street Securities. SGM’s clients include Ziebart and Kelly Services.
Garber said it was the right time to sell. “We’d hit that mid-range size; we had to get a lot bigger or we’d get smaller,” Garber said. “We looked at it as a way to get a lot more horsepower behind us.” K