RJ Palmer, one of the largest independent media services shops in the U.S., is independent no more. The 30-year old shop, which was founded by late namesake Robert Palmer in 1979, has been acquired by MDC Partners for about $25 million.
The deal, which was first reported on the New York Times’ website Wednesday night, is expected to be formally announced this morning. Officials at Palmer and MDC did not immediately return queries from MediaDailyNews, but the Times quoted MDC CEO Miles Nadal as confirming the deal.
Palmer is based in New York and handles clients such as Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Perdue Farms and Sherwin-Williams. The firm places an estimated $800 million in ads annually for clients.
Under the agreement, MDC will acquire all of Palmer and a controlling stake in its subsidiary barter advertising company Trade X Media. That deal seems a bit unusual for MDC, which typically acquires a controlling stake in agencies, but leaves the agency’s principals with significant enough equity to give them an incentive to continue growing their businesses.
Nadal told the Times that the purchase is part of an effort to increase billings at the holding company from its current estimated $1 billion to $10 billion in the next five to 10 years. Several MDC shops have media departments or subsidiaries, including Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Media specialist Media Kitchen is a unit of MDC’s Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners.