Grey tipped to buy 360 Thinc as both go after BellSouth

ATLANTA: While New York's Grey Advertising and Atlanta's 360 Thinc

jointly pitch for BellSouth's $120 million ad business, the

former is in advanced negotiations to acquire the latter.



All the agency chiefs involved refused to comment, although a

well-placed source within the Grey ranks told PRWeek, "We are having

discussions with 360, which if finalized would create a unified

advertising and PR operation here in Atlanta."



Last May, 360 - headed up by Cohn & Wolfe cofounder Bob Cohn -

successfully teamed with Porter Novelli to win the business. The win

ousted incumbent GCI Group, Grey's sister PR agency.



The loss of the business was a blow to GCI, and contributed to the

agency's 9.5% staff reduction this year. The Grey source confirmed that

the opportunity for bringing BellSouth's PR back into the family was a

consideration, but "it was not the progenitor for the discussions."



BellSouth has always kept its advertising and PR businesses

separate.



However, company spokesperson Jeff Battcher said, "We have, as part of

our cost-cutting in the past 18 months, been going to our vendors and

asking for cost breaks based on the advantage of pulling the entire

account into one house."



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