B COM3 Looks at What’s Next

$16 Bil. Holding Company Prepares for Growth and IPO
CHICAGO–With the final steps of their merger complete, executives with the B COM3 Group quickly turned their attention to how to make the newly formed behemoth even bigger.
“We’ve got a plan in terms of where we think we can quickly grow and we’ll be progressively putting teams in place,” said Roger Haupt, the organization’s chief executive officer. He said the company needed to build its “speed and depth of services,” particularly in the arenas of direct and database marketing and e-commerce.
Not on the agenda are layoffs, said Roy Bostock, B COM3’s chairman. The holding company is counting on attrition to cover any overlap in administrative and support service positions, he said.
The Chicago-based company, the result of the merger between The MacManus Group and The Leo Group, is expected to go public within the next 12-18 months.
The deal cemented last week also gives Dentsu Inc. a 20 percent stake in the new company. The Japanese agency will be the largest single shareholder in B COM3. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but sources pegged Dentsu’s outlay at more than $400 million. The company announced its 1999 revenue at $1.9 billion on billings of $15.7 billion.
Dentsu, headed by president Yutaka Narita, is pursuing its own public offering on Japan’s Nikkei stock exchange, expected in fall 2001. B COM3 officials said they had not discussed whether they will take a stake in Dentsu, but Haupt said he “wouldn’t rule anything out.”
Dentsu will also get two seats on B COM3’s board. Those representatives have not been named, but other members of the seven-person board are: CEO Haupt (former president and CEO of The Leo Group); chairman Bostock (former chairman and CEO of The MacManus Group); vice chairman Rick Fizdale (former chairman of The Leo Group), president and chief operating officer Craig Brown (formerly vice chairman, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of The MacManus Group), and chief administrative officer and secretary Christian Kimball (who held a similar position with The Leo Group).
“We’ll be real aggressive looking at clients they can help us with in Japan,” Bostock said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity to have a partner that controls 25 percent of [the Asian] marketplace.” K