Houston Helm & Co. is about to break the $50 million billings mark by acquiring estimated $20-25 million shop Fattal & Collins, according to sources.
The Los Angeles agency will finalize the deal to absorb F&C and its accounts later this week, sources said. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.
Houston, which has an estimated $30 million in billings, plans to relocate to F&C's Marina del Rey, Calif., offices. The former's 24 employees will join the latter's 25.
F&C, a wholly owned subsidiary of Grey Advertising, reports to the Grey Entertainment division in New York. A representative from Grey confirmed it was in talks with Houston regarding F&C, but that no deal had been finalized.
Executives at Houston and F&C either could not be reached or declined to comment.
F&C president Russ Collins will join Houston as vice chairman, reporting to agency chairman and majority owner Doug Houston.
Once a full-service shop, with clients including ABC Television, Disney Consumer Products and Columbia Pictures, F&C has restructured over the past year into an advertising and design firm. At its peak in 1996, the shop had more than $40 million in billings and more than 55 staffers. Its current accounts include design and collateral duties for Nissan's Infiniti luxury car division, K-Swiss athletic shoes, Daniel Freeman Hospital and the Century City Shopping Center.
Houston Helm is headed by Houston and president Greg Helm. Houston remains a majority owner of the agency. He sold his other shop, Houston Herstek Favat, to Arnold Communications in 1997.
Houston Helm's client list includes Hunt Wesson, Hunt's Brand Foods, Kirin Beer, Sazerac Distributors, Carrow's Restaurants (Hispanic advertising only) and Tricor Mortgage Lending.
The shop also operates a Hispanic division, Houston Helm Bermudez, a joint venture with Hispanic agency Publispa. --with Sloane Luca