Richards Group Mulls Rives Acquisition

DALLAS The Richards Group, one of the largest independent agencies in the U.S., confirmed it is considering an acquisition of independent Rives Carlberg.

Richards, located in Dallas, reports billings of more than $1 billion, compared to $45 million for Houston-based Rives Carlberg.

Richards founder and principal Stan Richards said he hopes to see a deal completed “in the next couple of weeks.” Rives Carlberg president and CEO Chuck Carlson could not be reached for comment.

The deal would expand Richards’ presence in the energy capital of Houston, where it handles media duties for power provider Reliant. Richards’ client roster also includes Houston-based Central Market, whose parent HEB Food Stores is a former Rives client.

Rives Carlberg’s clients include The Houston Chronicle, Hewlett-Packard, Rheem Air Conditioning and Texas Surgical Associates.

Stan Richards, noting the high caliber of management at Rives Carlberg as a major factor of the proposed acquisition, said the shop would operate as a stand-alone agency if the deal goes through.

Financial terms and other details were not disclosed.

The Houston agency gained its independence in 1986 when Young & Rubicam sold its stake to founder and then general manager Chuck Carlberg. Y&R was one of several major agencies to leave Houston in the oil bust of the late 1980s.