Bronner to Gain Duties From AT&T-TCI Deal

AT&T’s $37 billion acquisition of TCI Communications will conclude in a few weeks, and lead AT&T direct shop Bronner Slosberg Humphrey is preparing for an influx of billings once the deal is complete, said sources.
While one source pegged the new direct marketing tasks to be worth as much as $50 million, some key questions remain.
Still unclear is whether TCI will continue as a stand-alone brand, a decision that will undoubtedly affect spending, sources said.
Bronner may also face a conflict: it handles direct chores for U.S. Satellite Broadcasting from its Sansome Group in San Francisco. USSB, which already competes with TCI, is about to be acquired by an even larger rival, DirecTV, for $1.3 billion. Bronner executives also anticipate adding some tasks from that union, and believe they can juggle AT&T-TCI and DirecTV by handling them in separate offices on two coasts, sources said.
“This is only good news for us. I feel bullish about where we’re heading,” said Bronner president David Kenny. He referred specific questions to AT&T, where a representative said it was “premature” to talk about agency lineups. TCI could not be reached.
Bronner and its subsidiaries aren’t the only AT&T shops angling for a billings windfall: sources said AT&T shop Young & Rubicam is eyeing long-distance business now at Foote, Cone & Belding. Jordan McGrath Case & Partners/Euro RSCG, also New York, has handled TCI’s $50 million account, but its future status remains uncertain.
Campbell-Ewald/West, Los Angeles, and Direct Partners, Santa Monica, Calif., handle DirectTV ads and direct marketing, respectively. Those tasks are believed to bill more than $150 million. Ogilvy & Mather, New York, has the $50 million USSB ad account. No decisions have been made, but some consolidations are likely, said a source. DirecTV did not return calls. –with Teresa Buyikian and Justin Dini