Omnicom, the world’s second largest communication group, has bought the
internal communications outfit Smythe Dorward Lambert (SDL) with a view
to creating a global SDL brand.
According to the deal, signed last Friday, SDL is now wholly-owned by
Omnicom’s marketing services arm Diversified Agency Services (DAS).
Michael Birkin, managing director of DAS, which also owns Countrywide
Porter Novelli and Ketchum PR, declined to divulge the price paid for
SDL, saying only that its 50 employees will continue to operate from
their Drury Lane offices.
Founded in 1989, SDL advises a range of top names including Unilever,
NatWest Group and Glaxo Wellcome and is expected to bill pounds 4.8
million in fees in 1996.
SDL has seen competition intensify in the IC market over the last few
years. Key Communications set up a practice last year and Burson-
Marsteller hired BBC head of internal communications Alaric Mostyn to
run its IC department.
In response SDL has ‘broadened and deepened’ its service and employs a
range of human resources, psychology, strategy and planning experts.
Birkin said the aim of the deal is to expand SDL’s ‘range of services
and geography’ using Omnicom’s worldwide marketing network, especially
in the US.
He added that opportunities will vary from market to market but SDL will
either link up with consultancy firms or set up their own office.
SDL chairman John Smythe commented on the deal: ‘In Omnicom, we’ve found
the right partner to help us achieve our vision of becoming the first
world brand in organisational communications.’ Omnicom group now employs
19,400 people worldwide.
Birkin said DAS - which represents around 30 per cent of Omnicom revenue
- is not looking for further purchases. He concluded: ‘We’ve been pretty
busy looking at opportunities but there is nothing looming, it’s time to