Digitas Absorbs MBC; Forms Health Division

NEW YORK Digitas said it would absorb Medical Broadcasting Corp., forming a new division to serve pharmaceutical clients.

The move comes a little over two months after the completion of Publicis Groupe’s $1.3 billion acquisition of Digitas, which as an independent company included the agency of the same name, Modem Media and MBC.

Digitas Health will replace the MBC brand, which it acquired in January 2006.

David Kramer, CEO of MBC, will lead Digitas Health, which will remain headquartered in Philadelphia. Rather than reporting to Digtas corporate CEO David Kenny, Kramer will report to Laura Lang, president of Digitas.

“We knew we wanted to scale in the sector,” Lang said. “As we got to know each other better, it became clear integrating the offerings was the best approach.”

Digitas Health will bring together MBC’s expertise in Web design and creative with work Digitas had already done for pharmaceutical clients like Pfizer that mostly encompassed relationship and direct marketing.

Combined, Digitas Health will serve nine of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies, the company said.

“This is the next and important step in recognizing the full value of David Kenny’s original vision of MBC in the first place,” said Kramer. “He saw an industry in need of substantial change. The healthcare industry has been a late adopter” to interactive advertising.

Kramer said the decision to combine MBC with Digitas was under way prior to the Publicis deal. According to sources, the holding company has considered combining Modem Media with Publicis USA, but is not actively planning to do so at this time.