Multi-media Holdings Acquires Baldwin & Stone

Baldwin & Stone last week joined the growing list of New England agencies with new ownership selling to Multi-media Holdings, which says it intends to operate the shop under its current name and management.

With 1999 revenue of $3 million and 28 employees, Baldwin & Stone fits MHI’s model of acquiring “really small but award-winning, best-of-class agencies,” said Geoff Littlehale, an official of Washington, D.C.-based MHI.

While terms of the deal were not disclosed, acquisitions of similar size have typically fallen in the $5 million range.

Baldwin & Stone, formed nearly 30 years ago and based in Cambridge, Mass., is MHI’s third acquisition in the Boston area in recent months. Baldwin & Stone joins Quantic Communications of Andover, Mass., and The Creative Production Co. of Wakefield, Mass., to form MHI-Boston. That entity will eventually have its own president and include 10 to 15 agencies, said agency creative director Paul Stone.

“In Boston, where there are some big players, this is a way we may get to the next level of competition,” said Stone, who expects growth between 20 percent and 40 percent in the next year.

The Baldwin & Stone acquisition was also designed to make the company more attractive to potential employees by offering stock options, he said.

After beginning talks with MHI in February, Baldwin & Stone entertained an offer from a New England agency but rejected it so as not to lose its identity and management structure, said Stone. He declined to identify the suitor.

Baldwin’s key clients include W.B. Mason, State Street Global Advisers and Standard Electric.

New England’s largest three traditional agencies—Arnold Communications, Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos and Mullen—all have out-of-market owners, as do several smaller players, such as Bozell Kamstra, Pagano Schenck & Kay and TFA/Leo Burnett Technology Group.