Austin Kelley Sells To IPG

Agency Network Makes Second Acquisition In Atlanta
ATLANTA–For the second time this year the Interpublic Group of Cos. (IPG) has gone shopping in Atlanta.
Last week officials with Austin Kelley Advertising confirmed they had sold the agency to IPG. The shop will continue to operate under its own name and senior management.
Earlier this year, IPG acquired Fitzgerald & Co. here. The agency network then merged the Atlanta office of McCann-Erickson into the Fitzgerald operation.
Management at Austin Kelley and Fitzgerald will report to different executives in New York.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed at press time.
Austin Kelley president and chief executive officer Geoffrey Nixon did say that the agency shopped itself to IPG.
The decision to seek a parent company came in the wake of the death last year of agency founder Austin Kelley. Kelley’s estate owned a majority of the stock in the $85 million shop, with smaller stakes held by Nixon and agency executive vice president Jay Shields.
According to Nixon, the estate did not want to retain a long-term relationship with the agency, but it did give the managers time to find a buyer who would keep the operation intact. A family member was part of the team that considered potential suitors.
The purchase by IPG does not have any affect on the personnel of the agency, which was founded in 1975.
Nixon said there will be no account resignations. The agency currently boasts a client roster that includes the Georgia Lottery Corp., Mercedes-Benz Credit Corp., Porsche Cars North America, HoneyBaked Ham Co., Churchs Chicken, Bass Hotels & Restaurants, Arvida Co., Rio Bravo Restaurants and MediaOne, among others.
“This is a terrific opportunity for us to be part of a great company and offer our clients global resources we haven’t had before,” Nixon said, who added that the purchase deal has been signed.