C&M Assured Control

MDC Makes an Offer the Shop Can’t Refuse
CHICAGO–Officials with Minneapolis agency Colle & McVoy said MDC Communications Corp.’s reputation for allowing its agencies to operate independently is what finally convinced them to sell.
The $160 million agency had been approached by holding companies before, said agency chairman and chief executive officer Jim Bergeson. But MDC’s reputation and financial offer made its overtures sweeter than the rest, he said.
“These guys were unique in their approach,” he said. “They were respectful of our culture.”
The deal, which is still pending shareholder approval, calls for MDC to pay $19 million for an 80 percent stake in the agency. C&M management would own the remaining 20 percent, Bergeson said. The acquisition was expected [Adweek, March 8].
C&M’s board, which unanimously approved the deal, was also impressed with MDC’s 60 percent cash-at-closing offer, Bergeson said. The added cash gives the agency “deeper pockets” should it decide to add new departments or open other offices, he said.
With clients requiring more global reach and deeper abilities, C&M officials felt they could not remain independent any longer.
“When you get to a certain size, you get invited to a lot of parties that you hadn’t been invited to before,” Bergeson said. “And we’re at that stage.”
A shareholder vote is set for the end of the month. Bergeson was confident about the chances for approval.
C&M is the fifth-largest agency in Minneapolis, and has been 100 percent employee-owned since 1989.
Toronto-based MDC has been on a buying spree in the past year. The company acquired Margeotes/Fertitta + Partners, New York, in August, and promotions agency Source Marketing, Westport, Conn., in October. MDC officials have said the company plans more acquisitions this year.