M&C Saatchi, after two failed attempts to set up shop in New York City, is purchasing a one-third stake in SS&K, to serve as M&C Saatchi’s New York outpost, The New York Times reports.
Both agencies are expected to make the announcement today. The financial terms of the deal remain undisclosed, but M&C Saatchi’s stake is estimated at 33 percent, with the remaining majority share still in the hands of co-founders and partners Rob Shepardson, Lenny Stern and Mark Kaminsky. M&C Saatchi’s New York office, meanwhile, is expected to close by the end of year.
SS&K opened back in 1993 as Shepardson, Stern & Kaminsky, and continues to grow, recently adding HBO, Starbucks, E*Trade, Jackson Hewitt, Wells Fargo, Fresh Direct and The New Yorker to its client roster. The agency will become M&C Saatchi’s New York presence but will continue to keep its own name, and through its connection to M&C Saatchi will gain access to that agency’s global network, which includes offices in London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Sydney, Paris and Madrid.
“With hindsight, I don’t think we ever invested, if we’re honest with ourselves, the time or money to create a flagship office in Manhattan, the toughest of all markets,” Moray MacLennan, worldwide chief executive of M&C Saatchi, told The New York Times. “It’s a brutal old town you have.”
MacLennan cited the departure in July of Jeff Brooks, chief executive of M&C Saatchi New York, for MDC’s Assembly as “…the catalyst for our change of direction.” He also said he hopes to “move across” at least some people and clients to SS&K, adding, “we’re already working on an international pitch with SS&K.”