Deal done at global level

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SYDNEY, Monday: Mumbrella editor Tim Burrowes, in the latest edition of the newsletter, provides an interesting Australian perspective on Attivo NZ’s buyout of IPG AU’s 303 MullenLowe – a buyout which gives the NZ agency a good foothold in both nations.

Burrowes writes: “And now we have a new chapter and, for Australia, a new player. The new owner Cam Murchison is the New Zealand-based owner of Attivo Group. He started the company in NZ in 2020. Its biggest agency asset is the 25-year-old, Christchurch-based agency Harvey Cameron. Attivo also owns shopper marketing agency Farrimond and production agency Gorilla.

“As for Murchison, before he became an owner, he came up through the agency world, including senior roles with DDB and Ogilvy in NZ. His plan appears to be to establish a beachhead in Australia and then build a business by adding capabilities, either by acquisition or strategic hires.

“The big question is whether Attivo can achieve growth when the global holding companies cannot.

“The big question is whether Attivo can achieve growth when the global holding companies cannot.”

“Perhaps it’s some of the same logic that saw IPG decide to move to the franchise model. Entrepreneurs focused on the local market may be able to move faster.

“And there are also unknowns. The deal was done with IPG at a global level. I’m not sure Nick Cleaver [the current ceo of 303 MullenLowe AU] would have known much about it until late in the piece.

“It appears to have been signed without a plan to keep him in place. Imagine being the boss of an agency for 14 years and suddenly discovering you have a new owner. There’d be a lot to process, even if invited to stay.

“Cleaver was not mentioned at all in the press release announcing the deal. But Attivo gave me a comment from Murchison when I asked: ‘We are currently in discussions with Nick about his future in the business’. Make what you will of that.”

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