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Mindshare Acquires M&B

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NEW YORK WPP Group's Mindshare has acquired pioneering communications planning agency Michaelides & Bednash and is integrating it into its worldwide Invention Group, the Mindshare unit responsible for digital content programming sponsorship and planning.

It's the second time this year that a well-known planning specialist has sold itself, essentially to tap in to the larger resources of a bigger player in the marketing services field. In February, Photon Group of Sydney, Australia, bought Naked Communications. One difference: Naked, formed in 2000, remains a separate operation owned by Photon, while M&B, formed in 1994, will be enmeshed within Mindshare and no longer act as a stand-alone agency.

One of the key initiatives of the newly acquired M&B team will be to design and implement a new dedicated planning unit for Mindshare's global Unilever account.

Mindshare said that the leadership team within MB, including George Michaelides, Graham Bednash and Paul O'Neill, would be responsible for further developing Mindshare's Invention unit and embedding their approach and philosophy into the group. All Michaelides & Bednash staff will now transfer to Mindshare to work within the Invention Group, effective immediately.

Mindshare's Nick Emery, who will help oversee the M&B integration, said: "We already have outstanding creative talent and bringing in M&B continues our investment in a broad range of modern skills that we've been making to create the new model agency. To be the best in the world, Invention needs the best thinking and ideas. That's why George, Graham and Paul and their team are key to Invention's future."

In a joint statement Michaelides and Bednash said: "We've always been pioneers. Now it's time for us to pioneer again. The opportunities at Invention are immense. It means we can play on a much bigger canvas and fulfill the talent and ambitions of ourselves and our people on a global scale. MindShare is hungry for change and we share the same vision of the future. It's a perfect match.'

Phil Teeman, head of Mindshare's Team Unilever, said: "Graham and George already have a long history of working with Unilever and that experience and expertise will be invaluable as we focus on driving innovative, breakthrough strategy across their portfolio of global brands."