Internal Memo: Mark Penn’s Stagwell Group Acquires a Stake in Houston Agency MMI

By Patrick Coffee 

ICYMI, former Microsoft executive, WPP guy and political pollster Mark Penn has been not-so-quietly building a lineup of agencies across disciplines.

Last week, his marketing-focused investment firm Stagwell Group continued its two-year attempt to offer every service a client could possibly need by acquiring a minority stake in MMI, an independent Houston-based company that describes itself as “a data-driven conversation agency” specializing in shopper marketing and activations.

This marks the 11th agency Stagwell has acquired in whole or part over the past two years, according to its own press release. They include Code and Theory, Atlanta’s Scout, PR firm Finn Partners (in which it bought a minority stake) and its first big purchase, the politically connected communications firm SKDKnickerbocker. That last one earned Penn another NYT writeup.


Penn launched Stagwell back in 2015 with a plan to “seek out investments in the exploding digital marketing arena,” adding this gem:

“From finding soccer moms to uncovering Microtrends. I have always believed that data and creativity have to go together and that creative talent needs to be nurtured. We will be looking for investments that understand those principles.”

Speaking of trends, has anyone used Bing lately??

Here is what tipsters claim to be an internal memo from MMI CEO Benjamin Spiegel. Apologies if you’d expected something a bit more exciting.

Hello xxx,

I hope all is well and I am looking forward to our meeting later this month. I wanted to quickly share some MMI updates with you. As you might recall from our last meeting, part of our plan is to bring the best ideas, technologies, talent and ultimately success to our partners – with P&G an important part of that strategy. To support our growth and continue to bring maximum value to our clients, we decided to join an agency network. After careful evaluation of our options and vetting of interested parties, we decided to take a minority investment from a network called The Stagwell Group


Benjamin Spiegel
Chief Executive Officer – MMI Agency | @mmiagency