Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods And Blackwood Martin Near Merger In Arkansas

Two Arkansas agencies–Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods of Little Rock and Blackwood Martin & Associates of Fayetteville–plan to merge, pending the approval of CJRW’s employee stock ownership plan.
Frank Cox, CJRW president and chief executive officer, said formal merger discussions began 17 months ago. The talks were spurred by his shop’s desire to add Blackwood’s sales promotional expertise and gain a foothold in Northwestern Arkansas, home to Wal-Mart and Tyson Foods.
CJRW claims $53 million in billings and has 91 employees. Blackwood Martin reports $21 million and employs 47 staffers.
If the merger is approved by a March 16 vote, BM&A owner, president and chief executive officer Mark Blackwood would become executive vice president and senior executive officer in the new company. The Fayetteville office will initially operate under Blackwood as Blackwood Martin/CJRW, Cox said.
The two agencies will share resources but will not merge physical operations for the time being.
BM&A vice president and creative director Gary Weidner will become a vice president of Blackwood Martin/CJRW. All CJRW officers, including chairman Shelby Woods, retain their current positions.
Blackwood could not be reached for comment at press time.
Cox said Blackwood was attracted by the prospect of offering his clients additional services, particularly CJRW’s public relations capabilities.
The merger reunites Mark Blackwood with his brother Boyd, senior vice president and creative director of CJRW. Boyd established the Barham & Blackwood Agency (now Blackwood Martin & Associates) in 1977 and hired Mark the following year. Boyd left the agency in 1984 and joined Cranford in 1990.