WKP, Spier Join Forces

NEW YORK Warren Kremer Paino, an independent, full-service agency here, said it has acquired Spier New York, a 73-year-old shop specializing in publishing and consumer lifestyle brands.

The fusion will bring total staffing at the combined entity, which keeps the name WKP, to 60, with overall estimated billings of $65 million. (Spier adds 28 employees to the fold.)

“We’re taking the learning and experience, which have made us so successful in the marketing of luxury, travel and lifestyle brands through the years, into other product and service categories” said Peter Warren, chairman and CEO. “This acquisition will provide us with a deeper and stronger base of client experience from which to draw.”

Terms were not disclosed. Bob Paino becomes executive vice president and CFO of the combined agency. Tom McCartin remains president.

Bethany Chamberlain, formerly president of Spier, and Ted Mendelson, its creative director, are not joining the combined shop. Their duties are being absorbed by other executives at the reconfigured WKP.

In recent years, in part through its acquisition of The Lord Group, Spier extended its lifestyle expertise into consumer packaged goods and healthcare via clients such as Kraft Foods and HIP New York.

In addition to Kraft, Spier’s client roster includes publishers Doubleday Broadway, Random House, Penguin, Putnam and Rodale.

WKP accounts include The New York Palace Hotel, The Pierre, Helmsley Hotels, and boutiques such as The Mark and The Alex, as well as tourism assignments for Spain and the State of Maine. Bulova, Delta Dental and several others are also on the roster.

Owing to industry consolidation and contraction, there have been few regional agency mergers and acquisitions in the past few years.

One notable exception, however, was the fusion of Fitzgerald + Co. and Austin Kelley, two Interpublic Group-owned agencies in Atlanta that joined together about six weeks ago. In July 2005, Omnicom’s Zimmerman Partners in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., acquired the similarly named but unaffiliated independent Zimmerman Agency in Tallahassee, Fla.