Since agency conglomerates BJK&E and True North Communications finally agreed to a merger last month, many in the new media industry have been speculating about the future of the two powerful new media brands brought to the table: BJK&E's Poppe Tyson and True North's Modem Media, a unit of new media holding company TN Technologies.
Top officials at the two shops said they will be ready to reveal a full-scale plan by April. Both sides stated that, despite rumors to the contrary, a merger between the networks would not take place.
"This isn't a consolidation," insisted Kevin Clark, chief executive officer of Poppe Tyson, the acquired shop in the transaction. Instead, "there's an appealing synergy there," said Bob Allen, president of Modem Media, pointing out the lack of conflicting clients in each shop's roster. As well, Poppe brings a strong international network. Modem's greater contribution is its online media buying and planning capability. The company also boasts AT&T as a client, which accounts for more than two-thirds of revenues, according to filings with the Securities & Exchange Commission.
Sources said the company has plans to make another run at the stock market this year--an attempt last year fell short--but Allen denied this, saying the timing would be unrealistic. He called the new relations between Modem and Poppe "getting to know each other again," in reference to an earlier attempt between the two shops to form a merger independent of Poppe's parent company (Modem had not yet been merged with TN Technologies). Said Allen, "It's been 18 months since we've had these discussions; a lot has changed."