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Mark Penn Wants To Reimagine The Ad Holding Co.

Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton's former political adviser in 2008, is out to reinvent the advertising holding company. Penn, according to a report in the Journal, has lured $250 million in funding and is building what he hopes will be a new kind of advertising co. "to challenge the ultra-scale-driven model of the four giant 'holding companies' that dominate the marketplace." Penn's private-equity fund, Stagwell Group, is looking for acquisitions after completing three since it was launched last year—public relations firm SKDKnickerbocker, research firm NRG and Code and Theory, a digital creative agency. Penn's no stranger to adland--he held several executive roles within WPP Group. So how will Stagwell be different? Apparently it aims to create “a Noah’s Ark with one of a kind,” Penn said, meaning that its holdings will offer services that complement rather than directly compete with one another.

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