Omnicom Mulls Media Buying Integration

03 June 2002

Omnicom is conducting internal discussions as to the benefits of melding the buying functions within its Omnicom Media Group, comprising two full-service international operations: OMD Worldwide and PHD Network.

OMG, which manages over $18 billion (€19.29bn; £12.38bn) in media billings across the globe, is headquartered in New York, with regional hubs in London and Hong Kong. It has offices in over 67 cities, and forty-four nations.

Speculation that the ad giant – the world’s third largest agency and marketing services network (after WPP Group and Interpublic) – is mulling such a move were heightened last week as British Gas transferred its £53m UK media business out of OMD London and into Carat, coincident with growing rumour that Nissan is likely to review its UK media business – currently with OMD associated company Manning Gottlieb OMD.

Although those closest to the situation deny that any such merger is imminent, Steve Williams, managing director of OMD UK notably refused to rule out such a move: “It’s not on the radar at the moment. Naturally we talk about the options as an ongoing thing, but there are no immediate plans,” he said.

Close observers say that Omnicom mission control in New York regards the current UK situation as an appropriate test-bed for the creation of a unified media buying unit.

This would emulate a move last summer by rival Interpublic, which integrated over $40.7 billion of worldwide ad-buying muscle into Magna Global, which now negotiates on behalf of Universal McCann and Initiative Media.

Data sourced from: Media Week (UK); additional content by WARC staff