In an ongoing effort to strengthen its below-the-line capabilities, The Lowe Group has entered into an "equity partnership" with Miller/Huber Relationship Marketing. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but sources said it involved cash and stock.
The announcement comes six months after Lowe acquired St. Louis promotion shop The Zipatoni Co., and reinforces the group's goal to offer its clients more than just ads. "We believe in specialists to really make the creative product fly," said Marc Cave, executive vice president of the Lowe Group. "We're in the mode of actively building our marketing services capabilities in the U.S."
M/H, with billings of about $150 million and a staff of 80, specializes in "one-to-one brand communication" via direct mail, data analysis, telemarketing and modeling. It also forges consumer ties through a Web-driven subsidiary, ClientNet. "It is an innovative agency, based in a city that is playing an important role in shaping communications," said Lowe CEO Frank Lowe, in a statement.
Since 1994, San Francisco-based M/H has been approached by many suitors, including WPP Group and True North Communications, said Floyd Miller, its president. The shop chose Lowe for its global resources, creative reputation and willingness to let stand-alone agencies manage themselves, Miller said. M/H retains its name and management team. "They wanted to partner with what we were doing, not something that they were doing," said Miller.
Another incentive is shared clients. M/H works for Sun Microsystems, a Lowe & Partners/SMS client, as well as Cisco Systems, Micron PC and CarClub.com--all clients of Goldberg Moser O'Neill, another Lowe shop. Other M/H clients include British Airways and Wells Fargo.