After Sputtering in New York, M&C Saatchi Shifts Strategy and Invests in Another Agency

Takes a 33% stake in SS+K

In taking a one-third stake in SS+K, M&C Saatchi is abandoning efforts to establish its own presence in advertising's biggest city.

M&C has tried to start up in New York not once but twice. But despite several leadership changes, the shop was unable to amass a significant client base. The agency learned the hard way that New York can be a brutal, unwelcoming market.

In SS+K, M&C accesses a shop that is well-established, having opened in 1993, and is growing. This year, the agency, which has about 60 staffers, added creative assignments from the likes of E*Trade, HBO, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, The New Yorker and Fresh Direct. The shop also is used to having an investor, as Creative Artists Agency held a 33 percent stake before selling it back to the agency last year.

M&C, in turn, gives SS+K access to a global network with offices in cities including Sydney, London, Paris, Madrid, Tokyo and Los Angeles. And while SS+K becomes M&C's presence in New York, SS+K will keep its name.

As SS+K partner Lenny Stern put it, "It means the chance to work internationally without losing our identity in a bureaucratic fly trap."

M&C Saatchi global CEO Moray MacLennan described SS+K as "intelligent, ambitious and creative to its core."