Omnicom to build Wolff Olins

Omnicom Group has confirmed its ambitions to build the Wolff Olins’ international network following its acquisition last week. But it has refuted suggestions that it will merge its New Solutions and Pauffley groups into Wolff Olins to achieve it.

Omnicom’s desire to have a second string network is well known (it already owns Interbrand).

An Omnicom spokesman says, “We bought [the group] with a view to building it. We have absolutely no plans to merge Wolff Olins with [New Solutions and Pauffley]. It is not Omnicom’s policy to force such issues. It is, however, Omnicom’s policy to encourage group companies to work together where appropriate and to share opportunities for co-operation.”

Omnicom became the sole owner of Wolff Olins last week. Wolff Olins managing director Charles Wright says the desire for autonomy prompted it to succumb to Omnicom rather than any of its previous suitors. “People have autonomy in Omnicom,” he says. “We had to be part of something ambitious, but not merged.”

Wolff Olins was seen by the industry as being one of the last bastions of independence, despite Lloyds TSB Development Capital owning 33 per cent as a result of the management buyout in 1997.

Wright refutes suggestions that being part of one of the globe’s largest marketing groups compromises its brand positioning. “Independence is an approach to work and a state of mind,” he says.

The group was in talks with potential partners in March (DW 9 March). The Omnicom deal was concluded in three weeks.

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