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Three's company: Omnicom to buy all of TBWA

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In a move that gives it a third worldwide agency network, The Omnicorn Group announced late last Friday that it had agTeed in principle to acquire TBWA International, in a stock deal valued near $100 million. With its $1 billion in worldwide billings, $300 million of which is in the U.S., TBWA joins DDB Needham Worldwide and BBDO Worldwide in the Omnicorn troika. "Basically, this is a company that has created a very strong presence internationally in that it is in Europe and the United States, but it still has great growth potential," said Omnicom ceo Bruce Crawford. "Its client base is over one-half multinationals that it operates with all over the world." Crawford would not comment on the value of deal.
Bill Tragos, TBWA chairman and ceo, noted that at 22 years old, the agency is still young and the Omnicom deal "will allow us to invest in our future."
TBWA in 1992 and so far this year has had strong growth, winning new business like Gatorade in Europe and just last week picked up Wrangler's European business.
Structurally, TBWA will stand on its own within Omnicom. Both Crawford and Tragos noted that this will eliminate any potential conflicts with existing Omnicorn clients.
"The idea of a holding company is to have distinct brands," said Tragos.
With TBWA in the fold, the holding company brings Nissan into the mix along with Chrylser/Dodge (BBDO) and Volkswagen (DDB). One source said Nissan is precisely one of the driving factors behind the desire of Omnicom to acquire TBWA.
Crawford said Tragos will be added to the Omnicom board.
The deal had been negotiated for 13 months.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)