Omnicom in Low Key Buyback of Interactive Agencies

28 January 2003

Omnicom Group, the world’s third largest agency holding company, is discreetly buying back two of the sixteen online shops it controversially transferred in 2001 to Seneca Investments, a shell company jointly owned with private equity firm Pegasus Capital LLP.

The move, which did not publicly come to light until last summer [WAMN: 10-Jun-02], created a furore and is said to have triggered the resignation of Omnicom director (and chairman of its audit committee) Robert J Callender.

It also led to high profile criticisms both in the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times, the firing of [then] auditors Arthur Andersen, and a class action lawsuit alleging Omnicom had misrepresented its financial results and misled investors.

Yesterday ( Monday) it leaked out that Omnicom has quietly bought back one of these agencies, Organic - duly restructured and possibly now profitable. And according to insiders, Omnicom is poised to repeat the exercise with another of its former e-shops,

AdAge reports that Omnicom and Organic declined to comment on the matter, while a spokesperson for said only that it is [currently] 100% owned by Seneca.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff