IPG’s Plans Are Talk of the Town

GM Told of APL and Lowe Plan; Jerry Judge Eyed for Senior Post
NEW YORK–The long-rumored merger of Ammirati Puris Lintas and Lowe & Partners moved closer to reality last week after one major client was briefed on the plans, and insiders began working out details.
Meanwhile, IPG remains in pursuit of The MacManus Group, holding company for D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, N.W. Ayer & Partners and MediaVest Worldwide, sources said. Those talks have been on and off for months, during which time Publicis was also a suitor. Sources said, however, that IPG is close to consummating a deal and that the acquisition could be done by year-end.
Talk of both deals intensified as parent Interpublic Group of Cos.
prepared for its regularly scheduled board meeting tomorrow. IPG will release its latest earnings figures but it is also likely that the board will address both m&a issues, sources said.
Martin Puris and Frank Lowe, chief executives of APL and Lowe, respectively, could not be reached. IPG boss Phil Geier, who is believed to have informed APL’s General Motors client last week, refused to comment.
Word of the APL and Lowe merger raised eyebrows, as many observers cited the failure rate and protracted disruption typically caused when two agency cultures are combined. Furthermore, APL has yet to recover fully from the 1994 merger of Ammirati & Puris and Lintas Worldwide that created the new entity.
Meanwhile, Lowe insiders seemed more receptive to the concept than in the earlier stages. Said one agency source: “I think we can make it happen and I do see some benefits.”
The name of Jerry Judge, Frank Lowe’s No. 2 in London, has surfaced as a candidate to take a senior role in the merged entity. It is believed that Lowe is not interested in moving to the states and that Puris may step down by year-end.
Regarding talks with IPG, MacManus CEO Roy Bostock said, “There is absolutely no deal There have been no offers and no acceptances with any entity. ” The loosening of its conflict by Procter & Gamble, at D’Arcy, theoretically lets a competitor like Unilever at APL to be housed under the same holding company.