IPG Purchases Events Planning Firm

First it bought New England’s largest public relations shop; then it purchased the region’s second-largest ad agency. Now, Interpublic Group of Cos. owns one of Boston’s leading special events planning companies.
The New York-based holding company last week bought Jack Morton Co., which has 275 staffers in nine offices across the country. Its 35-employee Boston outpost, run by senior vice president and general manager Patricia Rossin, services clients such as Arthur D. Little, Dunkin’ Donuts, Stride Rite and Digital Equipment Corp.
The family-owned and operated “experiential marketing” company agreed to merge with IPG, according to a statement released last week. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, industry sources said it was a pure stock transaction. Jack Morton Co. earned revenues of $100 million in 1997, according to company officials.
Jack Morton Co. will retain its identity and become part of IPG’s Allied Communications Group. “We have been promised complete autonomy. Compensation and pricing will not change. [The deal] will give us access to better benefit programs [for our employees] and being part of a global company will allow us to provide greater services to our clients.”
Jack Morton Co. entered the Boston market nine years ago when it bought Rossin Larson Meeting Producers and creates specialized programs and events for specific communications needs.
For example, the company has handled the national convention for Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees, built trade show booths and planned events for Digital Equipment, developed an MBA recruitment program for Arthur D. Little and earlier this year helped introduce more than 6,000 employees to each other after the merger of rivals Sodexho and Marriott Corp.’s institutional food group.
IPG’s first significant move into the local market was its acquisition of New England’s largest public relations agency, The Weber Group in Cambridge, Mass. In February, it bought Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, the region’s second-largest ad agency.