MediaCom Expands British Empire, Acquires Brilliant

Consolidation within the UK media agency industry continued this week as WPP confirmed Friday that ad buying and planning subsidiary MediaCom acquired Brilliant Media, a 20-year-old shop with offices in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, England.

The deal is the second holding company acquisition of an independent media agency in the UK this year. In July, Aegis Group acquired control of MediaVest Manchester and folded it into Carat. The total purchase price of the Manchester acquisition, to be paid out over time, could top $150 million, subject to certain performance goals. WPP did not disclose the terms of the Brilliant acquisition.

Brilliant’s media billings weren’t immediately available, and the shop did not register on billings tracker RECMA’s list of the top 23 media shops in the UK in 2010. The smallest agency had a reported $62 million in billings.

What is clear is that in March, MediaCom wrested away Brilliant’s biggest client, furniture company DFS, which reportedly spent about $60 million annually on ads. Brilliant also lost its assignment for supermarket chain Asda to Carat earlier this year.



WPP stated: “The sale to MediaCom guarantees that Brilliant’s loyal customer base will continue to receive a high level of personalized services across all three offices,” as it is absorbed by the much larger MediaCom network.

At the end of 2010, MediaCom was the largest single media shop by billings in the UK, according to RECMA with billings exceeding $3.5 billion. 

The acquisition comes just a day after word surfaced that MediaCom was awarded the consolidated global media planning and buying account of cosmetics giant Revlon.

Last year, Revlon spent an estimated $265 million on ads worldwide. Revlon shifted its U.S. media assignment to MediaCom without a formal review last year. Aegis Group's Carat was the incumbent. According to Kantar Media, the company’s U.S. ad spend last year was slightly more than $130 million.

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