Deutsch Agrees to be Acquired by IPG

NEW YORK–Deutsch, the last of the big independent U.S.-based ad agencies, has agreed to be acquired by Interpublic Group of Cos., executives close to the talks confirmed.

The deal is valued between $250-300 million, sources said, and calls for Deutsch to remain a stand-alone entity under IPG, alongside McCann-Erickson Worldwide and Lowe Lintas Worldwide. The agreement, which will likely be signed later today, gives New York-based Deutsch, which also has offices in Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago, the opportunity to expand globally.

Agency Principal Donny Deutsch, 43, owns roughly 87 percent of the $1.5 billion shop, with the remaining equity shared among five partners: Linda Sawyer, general manager; Val DiFebo, director of account management; Peter Drakoulias: director of new business development; Cheryl Greene, chief strategy officer; and Kathy Delaney, executive creative director.

Deutsch met Phil Geier at the 1999 4As meeting and the IPG chairman has been courting him ever since. More recently, John Dooner, who earlier this year succeeded Geier as IPG CEO, has been front and center in negotiating the deal.

It is believed that Deutsch’s clients, which include Mitsubishi, Domino’s Pizza, Pfizer, Bank One and DirectTV, have been notified and that Dooner has already spoken with Mitsubishi and General Motors (an IPG client) and has cleared any possible conflicts.

Deutsch has long been considered a plum acquisition target and has been approached by a number of holding companies over the years.

–Alison Fahey