Cossette Buys Stake in London Agency

NEW YORK Cossette Communications Group has bought a 51 percent stake in London ad agency MCBD and its direct marketing and sales promotion subsidiary Elvis in a six-year, three-part deal with an initial investment of $16.8 million.

The shop, which claims billings of about $57 million, handles clients that include BBC Worldwide, Cadbury, Diageo, Carnival Cruises and Tetley Tea. Jeremy Miles, Helen Calcraft, Paul Briginshaw and Malcolm Duffy helm the agency.

The agency has agreed to an earn-out based on financial performance over the next two years. After the third year, either party can trigger a sale of an additional 24 percent stake in the agency and the remaining share of the shop may be sold after the fifth year. All told, the total purchase price of the agency could be as much as $58 million, paid entirely in cash.

MCBD is the third London acquisition for the Canadian holding company. In December 2003, the company acquired brand consultancy Identica, which now has offices in New York and Shanghai. In September 2004, Cossette acquired public relations company Band & Brown Group.