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MWW Buys Itself Back from IPG

MWW Group has completed a buy-out from Interpublic Group. The buy-out, led by MWW founder and CEO Michael Kempner and other management members, is taking place a decade after MWW firm was first sold to IPG. The purchase also includes MWW’s financial and IR firm, Financial Relations Board.

Kempner told the New York Times that he “will be the majority shareholder in the newly independent MWW.”

“Minority stakes are owned by 10 to 15 senior managers of the agency” and others he would not identify, the story continues.

“We wish Michael and MWW the best,” IPG Constituent Management Group (CMG) CEO Harris Diamond told us. When asked about any new acquisitions, Diamond said, “We’re always doing acquisitions” but they’re not looking in the U.S., where the company’s presence is already strong. Rather, they’re focused “throughout the world and in different practice areas.”

Updated with comments from MWW’s Michael Kempner after the jump.

MWW’s clients include McDonald’s, Hershey’s, and Johnson & Johnson. The New Jersey-based firm has offices in San Francisco, Chicago, London, and other major cities.

According to the press release announcing the buy-back, the move allows MWW to “return to its roots as strategic communications management consultants” and to “capitalize on the growth opportunities” through a “nimble, entrepreneurial management framework” that facilitates investment in digital and social media.

Update: According to Kempner, the decision to sell the company a decade ago and buy it back now is based on the landscape for both business and PR. Ten years ago, PR was “gaining a seat at the table” because of the emergence of dot.com companies, which made it the right time to become part of a larger organization.

“Again, we’re seeing rapid changes in our industry for business in general, and PR is once again at the center of those changes and at the center of the way those companies communicate,” he told us. “By regaining our independence I can unleash our creativity, talents,” and other assets, he added, without being “constrained by quarter-to-quarter earnings” and other aspects of being part of a large public company.

Going forward, the firm will be focused on clients and staff.

“If we focus on just those two items, everything else takes care of itself,” Kempner continued. “It allows us to make the appropriate investments, and make appropriate long-term and short-term decisions. We’re no longer focused on the needs of shareholders but focused solely on the needs of our clients.”

Finally, Kempner said we should expect to hear about a series of new hires in the near future.

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