Looking to free itself from parent Envoy Communications, Hampel/Stefanides in New York has been holding talks with four agencies about selling the 12-year-old shop, the agency confirmed.
"We are looking at different agencies to buy us from Envoy," said Dean Stefanides, co-creative director and co-founder of the agency. "We've met with a lot of agencies. … We may stay with Envoy. It depends on what we decide is best for our clients. It's not 100 percent decided."
In March, financially strapped Envoy cut 75 employees, or 15 percent of its staff, after posting revenue of about $11 million, a 24 percent drop from the same period in 2001. Things have not improved: For the nine months ending June 30, revenue was down 28 percent to $29 million, compared with the same period last year, according to SEC filings.
Hampel/Stefanides was formed in 1993, when Stefanides and Larry Hampel left Scali, McCabe, Sloves in New York to start their own shop. Envoy, based in Toronto, purchased the shop in 1998 as a way for the company, mainly known for its design holdings (including Watt International in Toronto), to expand its traditional advertising offerings. Hampel/Stefanides is its only U.S. outpost, following an unsuccessful bid to purchase Leagas Delaney in June 2001.
Geoffrey Genovese, founder of Envoy, said it was "absolutely not true," that the agency was seeking a buyer.
Hampel/Stefanides currently has a staff of 30 and about $60 million in billings, from clients including Court TV, Steve Madden, BASF, Neuberger Berman and Aer Lingus.