Moroch Poised To Buy NextMedia

Media buying and planning agency NextMedia has moved in with Moroch Partners in an alliance that could lead to a full-blown marriage, executives said.

The development, which saw NextMedia’s five-person staff here recently relocate to Moroch’s Dallas headquarters, is part of what Moroch chairman Pat Kempf called a “strategic alliance” that could lead to an acquisition. “Some things are yet to be determined from a legal and financial standpoint,” Kempf said.

Kempf noted that NextMedia boosts Moroch’s national media-buying capabilities. NextMedia, which longtime media execs Mike Ritzman and Michael Leonard launched in 1997, claimed 2003 billings of $30 million. Clients include Administaff and Mission Pharmacal’s Citracal.

Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett owns a 30 percent stake in Moroch, whose clients include several McDonald’s co-ops. Its media unit mostly does spot buying. NextMedia’s staff will report to Carol Dodson, Moroch’s corporate media director.

Moroch two years ago acquired Coffee/Black Advertising and WideEye Interactive Group after working with those shops for several months on McDonald’s. Kempf said the NextMedia deal is comparable, as it is part of an effort to “reposition Moroch as a full-service agency.”

NextMedia is keeping its name and will continue to target small and midsize clients, Ritzman said. “All of this consolidation is causing mid-market advertisers to be underserved,” Ritzman said.