MDC Partners is a mid-sized North American marketing group, housing a broad portfolio of creative and diversified marketing agencies, now mainly headquartered in the US, but with a growing international network. Operating primarily as a venture capital investor, it has accumulated stakes in a collection of separately branded, often single-office agencies, several of which have gradually developed a limited international profile. MDC has become best known for its shareholdings in two highly admired American shops, Crispin Porter & Bogusky and 72andSunny, each of whom also has outposts in Europe. Other subsidiaries include KBS, Anomaly and fashion specialist Laird & Partners. A key addition in 2012 was the purchase of a minority stake in Detroit-based Doner. The main benefit MDC offers its partner agencies is the upfront payout for their shares. Beyond that, businesses are left with operational independence, and that includes the freedom not to work with each other to grow faster or more efficiently. Gradually, though, the group has begun to encourage synergies between its various subsidiaries, not least through the creation of a pooled central media buying agency, now known as Assembly.
Who are the clients of MDC Partners? See individual agency profiles below for more
Who are the competitors of MDC Partners? See ranking of Leading Global Marketing Groups
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|Colle & McEvoy||Concentric Pharma|
|HL Group||Source Marketing|
Adbrands Weekly Update 5th July 2018: Former Crispin Porter & Bogusky chief creative officer Ralph Watson filed a lawsuit against that agency, its holding company MDC Partners and multiple individuals employed by those two companies on multiple charges including wrongful termination of employment, discrimination, defamation and civil conspiracy. Watson already has a suit in progress against anonymous Instagram account Diet Madison Avenue, which accused him, as well as several other executives at different agencies, of sexual harassment. Virtually all of the men named were dropped by their agencies despite little apparent evidence to back up Diet Madison Ave's allegations. Watson says in the suit that he was wrongfully terminated by MDC despite being an "exemplary performer during his entire tenure with the agency... as a direct result of Diet Madison Avenue's false statements, pressure and interference." MDC and CP&B said they stand by their original decision to terminate Watson and vowed "to vigorously defend themselves and their employees" from the lawsuit.
Adbrands Weekly Update 17th May 2018: With all figures now in, here's the final standing for 1Q. IPG leads with 3.6% organic growth, followed by Omnicom (2.4%), Dentsu (2.1%), Publicis (1.6%), MDC Partners (1.0%), WPP net sales (negative 0.1%) and Havas (negative 1.7%).
Adbrands Weekly Update 10th May 2018: After a strong close to 2017, MDC Partners' results for 1Q were a big disappointment, and the poor performance appears to be bleeding on into the current quarter. New accounting rules left a significant dent on the figures, but these were exacerbated by what CEO Scott Kauffman described as "client cut backs and a slower conversion of our new business pipeline". Revenues of $327m represented organic growth of just 1.0%, while net new business wins were just $20m. Net loss for the quarter tripled against the year-ago period to $31m. Despite what Kauffman called a "substantial new business pipeline" ahead, organic growth forecasts for the year were cut from 4% to between 1% and 3%. Kauffman told analysts "We share your frustration with our financial results. We need to do better."
Adbrands Weekly Update 1st Mar 2018: President Trump's tax reforms handed MDC Partners not just a profit for 2017, but a record one to boot of almost $236m. The parent group to 72andSunny, CP&B and Anomaly has only once before delivered a net profit, a paltry $133k in 2008, so there was certainly cause for celebration. Even on an adjusted basis, without the $200m or so of exceptional tax gains, MDC would still have delivered a best-ever profit of almost $30m. Revenues hit a record high of $1.51bn. Organic growth for the quarter was 3.3%, with a big lift from Canada and international bolstering a weak US market. That was less than the previous nine months, lowering the full year figure to 7.0%, but still put MDC at the top of the overall class.
With all the groups' results in, final scorecard for organic/LFL growth/decline for 4Q is as follows: Interpublic +3.3%, MDC +3.3%, Dentsu 2.8%, Publicis +2.2%, Omnicom +1.6%, WPP revenues +1.2%, WPP net ex pass-throughs -1.3%, Havas -2.1%. For the year, MDC +7.0%, Omnicom +3.0%, Interpublic +1.8%, Publicis +0.8%, Dentsu 0.1%, WPP revenues -0.3%, Havas -0.8%, WPP net ex pass-throughs -0.9%.
Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd Nov 2017: The declines suffered by several of the large groups are being offset by (or indeed caused by) gains further down the feeding chain. MDC Partners, which had been struggling for a couple of years, has pulled off a solid turnaround, and the latest figures demonstrated continuing momentum, though growth was slightly lower than last quarter. 3Q revenues of $376m represented organic growth of 7.6% for the quarter, and a YTD figure of 8.4%. That's more than double the rate delivered by nearest competitor Omnicom. The group doesn't break out performance by individual agencies, but clearly Anomaly is the major contributor to this turnaround following an exceptional new business performance so far this year. Better still (in our opinion), net income of $16.5m lifted bottom line into positive territory for the year. Could MDC finally be on course to report a decent full year profit?
Yet there are still icebergs ahead. A shadow was cast over MDC Partners' strong set of financial results this quarter by three significant account reviews this week. BMW finally confirmed an anticipated review of US creative out of KBS; Crispin Porter & Bogusky lost the global Hotels.com account to an as yet unnamed new agency, and burger chains Carl's Jr and Hardee's are reviewing creative out of 72andSunny.
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