Omnicom deal seals healthcare gap in Diversified Agencies' offer

NEW YORK: Omnicom Group's marketing services division, Diversified

Agency Services (DAS), has purchased Matthews Media Group (MMG), a

$9 million healthcare PR and marketing firm.



MMG specializes in recruiting patients for clinical trials, and

healthcare and public education. Some of DAS' agencies include

substantial healthcare divisions, among them Porter Novelli, Ketchum and

Fleishman-Hillard.



In addition, DAS last year invested in SCIREX, a research

organization.



Patient recruitment is of particular interest to Omnicom, according to

DAS chairman and CEO Thomas Harrison. 'It is our vision to get as close

to the clinical development process as we can so that we can maximize

the potential of the ultimate brand,' he said.



MMG will continue to operate independently. 'We push the management back

out to the companies,' Harrison said. 'They want to remain

entrepreneurial, and that is what they will do,' he continued.



For MMG, Omnicom will boost the firm's potential to operate outside the

US. 'One client of ours is going to Singapore and is asking us if we can

handle international patient recruitment,' said MMG's CEO Molly Mahoney

Matthews.



MMG's client list includes the National Cancer Institute, the Juvenile

Diabetes Research Foundation, corporate bodies and the National

Institutes of Health.



Matthews would not predict exactly how MMG's fee billings will increase,

but said the change will be significant.



'Omnicom is going to drive business to us,' she said. 'When companies

see all that we have done, they hire us. Omnicom will give us the

opportunity to tell our story to a larger audience.'



See Editorial, p. 10



DAS' PR interests

Agency Specialty

Brodeur Worldwide Hi-tech

Clark & Weinstock Lobbying

Cone Cause-related

Fleishman-Hillard* Multinational

Gavin Anderson Financial

GPC International* Public affairs

Ketchum Multinational

Matthews Media Healthcare

Porter Novelli Intl. Multinational

Smythe Dorward Lambert Internal communications

*announced merger end of January 2001



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