EPB Is Ketchum Suitor

Ketchum Advertising, hard-hit in the last year by account losses, is expected to have a new owner and a different name by the end of the month, officials with the Pittsburgh agency said.
Ketchum is owned by Omnicom and reports though the TBWA International network. According to agency executives, the three-year-old relationship with TBWA has not worked out.
“We’re looking at a number of possibilities,” Ketchum president Dave Egan said. The recent losses of 75-year client PNC Bank, a $10-15 million account, and Imation, $15-25 million piece of business, plus a need for a “better strategic fit” have contributed to the search for a new owner, he said. Sources said a deal could be finalized by the end of July.
New York-based Earle Palmer Brown is thought to be a leading candidate. Officials at EPB confirmed the talks, saying the two shops mesh on client service, creative and integrated marketing fronts, but declined further comment.
Egan declined to name any other agency suitors.
In any case, the agency is likely to drop the Ketchum name, which Omnicom is retaining to brand Ketchum Public Relations.
Omnicom and TBWA officials could not be reached for comment.
The Omnicom Group acquired the 75-year-old Ketchum ad agency in 1996 when it bought Ketchum Communications, which also includes Ketchum Public Relations and Ketchum Directory Advertising.
The agency was placed under the auspices of TBWA International, but officials at the Pittsburgh agency said the relationship never quite came together.
“It hasn’t fit terribly well strategically for us,” Egan said.
Both sides have reason to end the relationship. Agency sources said the shop received little help from the TBWA organization in defending the PNC business, and a Pittsburgh office did not fit with TBWA Worldwide chairman Lee Clow’s vision for the network. –with Kathy Sampey