Midwest Shop Is Target Of Growth Strategy
CHICAGO--Arnold Communications in Boston has approached Laughlin/Constable about a deal to buy the agency, sources said.
While principals at both firms declined to confirm any negotiations, the move would be in keeping with Arnold chairman Ed Eskandarian's ambititious growth plans. "I think we could have something done [in the Midwest] as early as September," he said.
"In the U.S., our [expansion] priorities are the Midwest, West Coast and then New York," Eskandarian said. "We've got plenty in the works."
If an agreement is reached, it would be yet another example of a smaller shop selling out to a larger agency network at a time when clients are consolidating accounts at fewer shops [see related story, page 2].
Dean Proctor, president of the Milwaukee and Chicago-based L/C, said the agency was "very interested" in pursuing different growth opportunities, including acquisitions or alliances, "[but] we are not interested in erasing" the L/C name.
Arnold was purchased in March by Snyder Communications in Bethesda, Md., for an estimated $120 million in stock.
Arnold and L/C already share a common client--McDonald's--that the former serves via a regional office in Milwaukee. L/C's Milwaukee office does public relations work for the burger chain. L/C entered Chicago in March when it bought N.W. Ayer & Partners' office here. Combined billings total roughly $150 million from such clients as OshKosh B'Gosh, Bridgestone/Firestone and Wolverine footwear.
L/C appears to fit Eskandarian's criteria for potential purchases: "Compatibility, talented creatives, strong marketing people, client relationships that are strong essentially a base on which we can build," he said.