MDC May Buy Colle & McVoy

MDC Communications in Toronto is finalizing a deal to purchase Minneapolis-based Colle & McVoy, sources said. The acquisition still requires approval of MDC’s board, which could come this week, sources said.
Officials at Colle & McVoy would neither confirm nor deny negotiations with MDC. The agency said it is frequently approached about buyouts. MDC officials did not return calls by press time.
With billings of $127 million in 1997, Colle & McVoy is the fifth-largest agency in Minneapolis and the city’s second-largest independent agency behind Fallon McElligott. Colle & McVoy is employee-owned and a partner firm in ICOM, a global association of independent ad agencies.
Jim Bergeson, the agency’s chief executive officer, last year said the growing need to compete globally could lead the agency to sell to a holding company [Adweek, Feb. 9, 1998]. At the time, he said the WPP Group was among those that had approached the agency. Colle & McVoy’s clients include Caterpillar, Cliff’s Notes, Pfizer Animal Health and Winnebago Industries.
The deal would represent MDC’s third acquisition of a U.S. agency in nine months. It acquired New York-based Margeotes/Fertitta + Partners in August and Source Marketing, a strategic promotion agency in Westport, Conn., in October.
MDC raised $47.8 million in capital through a stock offering in January to fund acquisitions. More acquisitions are expected later this year. In previous deals, MDC has allowed acquired agencies to continue operating with a large degree of independence.
George Fertitta, CEO of M/F, said, “We and MDC have been negotiating with several agencies in the U.S. with total billings in excess of $500 million and expect to make announcements regarding those negotiations by the end of the month.”