Starcom Worldwide’s German billings are set to surge 60% with the acquisition of Thomas Koch Media, after the best part of a year of negotiations.

The two shops will merge into a new unit, TKM Starcom, with offices in Hamburg, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf, effective January 1.

In charge will be Thomas Koch, chief executive at TKM and in the same role at the new outfit; Markus Zielinski, who moves from managing director at TKM to chief operating officer at the merged entity; and Paul Syrysko, managing director at Starcom Germany, who takes the same position at TKM Starcom. The new group will report to Mark Cranmer, ceo of Starcom MediaVest Group in the EMEA region.

The merged agency will claim billings of around $1.1 billion, making it the fifth or sixth biggest German media shop. In 2000, Starcom was eighth with $674.8m and TKM twelfth with $417.4m.

Syrysko said the merger did not present any client conflict dilemmas. Starcom’s biggest clients are Fiat, Procter & Gamble and Philip Morris, whereas TKM handles numerous local advertisers, Levi Strauss and Group3G/Quam.

News sources: AdAge Global; Starcom website