Optimedia May Handle U.S. Media for FCB

CHICAGO – Hoping to keep pace with the increasingly global aspirations of multi-national clients and media conglomerates, top execs at Foote, Cone & Belding Communications and Optimedia, the freestanding European media planning and buying arm of Publicis/FCB, met last week and laid the groundwork for a global media network that could amass $10 billion in billings.
Optimedia is the $3.5-billion media specialist that handles media for Publicis/FCB clients in eight European countries, Canada and South Africa. Simon Lloyd, the London-based chairman of Optimedia, was in FCB’s Chicago headquarters last week discussing the expansion of his company. One item squarely on the table: combining FCB’s billings in the U.S., about $2.1 billion, under the Optimedia umbrella.
‘That would be a good base if Optimedia went global,’ said Lloyd. ‘And $10 billion may seem absurdly large now. But if FCB or Publicis acquires more agencies, who knows?’
FCB isn’t the only global agency force looking to cast a global media net. Zenith Media Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi PLC’s European media unit, is discussing setting up a U.S. operation to handle media for Saatchi agencies Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, Backer Spielvogel Bates, CME-KHBB and AC&R.
Zenith also is said to be in talks with Euro RSCG about combining buying and ‘back-office’ operations such as research and computer software development in Europe.
Zenith chairman John Perriss, confirmed talks with Euro RSCG execs but said no deal is imminent.
‘Nothing is about to happen and there was no talk about merging the companies,’ he said in a phone interview from London. ‘I’m sure we’ll talk further, but nothing is happening anytime soon.’
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)