Initiative and Universal merger 'all about scale'
THE local arms of Initiative Media and Universal McCann have merged their media-buying divisions to create a new business with combined annual billings of about €100m.
Dubbed 'Magna Ireland', the new entity began trading in recent weeks and is based in Initiative's Dublin offices with Initiative's Steve Baker at the helm.
Initiative's local managing director Chris Rayner was unavailable for comment yesterday but Universal McCann's Irish managing director Martina Stenson said the decision to merge the two units was "all about scale".
She stressed that Initiative Ireland and Universal McCann Ireland would be maintaining "completely separate" strategic and media planning functions. It is understood that a small number of positions were cut as part of the merger.
The Magna move comes as the Irish media-buying scene becomes increasingly consolidated, led by super-agency Core Media, which boasts annual billings of €192m, having encompassed the operations of McConnells MCM, AFA Precision, Zenith Optimedia, MediaVest, Starcom and Clear Blue Water.