Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners has taken a "significant" minority stake in Frierson Mee + Kraft, which has been renamed Frierson Mee + Partners, following the departure of partner and creative director Neil Kraft.
Kraft, who left about 10 days ago and is said to be opening his own shop, has been succeeded by James Hitchcock, a creative director from Kirshenbaum and co-creator of Target's "Fashion and Housewares" campaign. Hitchcock, 37, becomes part of FMP's management team and gets equity.
The deal, which was brokered by Richard Roth of Richard Roth Associates in Chappaqua, N.Y., gives Kirshenbaum a piece of a $75 million shop known for fashionable print work for clients such as Maidenform, Coty and Ralph Lauren.
FMP gets new business leads and access to an array of media, promotions and public relations resources. In that sense, it is like Kirshenbaum's previous investment in Mad Dogs & Englishmen, which bought itself back this year.
"They have a unique way of nurturing entrepreneurial growth," said agency president John Frierson. "They're going to give us a lot of backup support as we pursue larger accounts."
Co-chairman Richard Kirshenbaum said, "These are talented people who really want to grow." He added: "We're taking a holding company approach, but in a creative way." Or, as co-chairman Jonathan Bond put it, "We believe in buying talent, not billings."
Kirshenbaum has offices in New York and San Francisco and claims $500 million in billings.