NEW YORK: Euro RSCG Magnet has acquired the USA subsidiary of Grayling International, assuming billings of $1 million.
Among the clients joining Magnet are Heineken USA and Baron Philippe de Rothschild wines. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Grayling was previously part of Havas, which is the parent company for Magnet. Huntsworth, a PR holding group, acquired Grayling in April.
A source close to the situation said that the Zeno Group, GCI Group, and Ketchum also had been engaged in talks about acquiring the shop.
Stephen Russell, COO and CFO of the Zeno Group (formerly PR21), confirmed that his firm was contacted in the late summer, but opted out because "the deal didn't fit."
Bob Feldman, GCI CEO, also confirmed that his agency had a conversation with Grayling.
Ketchum neither confirmed nor denied its involvement.
As a result of the acquisition, Magnet CEO Aaron Kwittken said, Heineken USA becomes Magnet's largest client in its consumer practice. "It's a strong piece of business," he said. "The most important part of the deal is the Heineken team and their multicultural capabilities."
Dan Tearno, VP corporate affairs of Heineken USA, said the company was enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with Magnet.
"The people [from Grayling] who worked the Heineken account moved over, so we will have their expertise and institutional memory, with [Magnet's] deeper team," Tearno said.
Tearno added that Heineken was kept in the loop about the acquisition process, but declined to comment further.
Roy Bumsted, former Grayling USA CEO, becomes an EVP at Magnet. Joining him are Heineken account director Marvin Mack, who assumes an SVP position within Magnet, and other unidentified staff.
Former Magnet chairman Don Middleberg was believed to be working with Grayling in the acquisition, but Kwittken said Middleberg, who has been consulting for Magnet for more than a month, was acting in a strictly informal capacity.