TribalDDB Considering Acquisitions

TribalDDB, the interactive agency of DDB Worldwide, confirmed Friday that
it’s slimming down in preparation to bulk up.

The company eliminated 24 positions, or about 5 percent of its global
workforce, in an effort to eliminate redundancies that would occur from the
upcoming acquisition of an unspecified competitor.

“We had to make some tough decisions,” said a spokesperson at the agency.
“The purpose was to optimize our fiscal resources for mergers and
acquisitions … that we’re planning.”

The spokesperson declined to respond to speculation on which of its
competitors it plans to acquire. However, there’s a long list of potential
targets, made newly affordable by the softness of the online advertising
sector.

For one, Omnicom Group, the parent of DDB Worldwide, has investments in
several prominent, publicly traded interactive shops, including Alley-based
Razorfish and Agency.com. Those two in particular have fallen on hard
times — with stock valuations more than 90 percent off their 52-week highs.

Omnicom already has been giving signs that it’s ready to do some
reorganization among its struggling interactive portfolio. It recently
moved the troubled San Francisco-based i-shop Organic closer to another of
its agencies, BBDO Worldwide, though the exact terms of the “strategic
alliance” between the two are unknown.

There’s also chunks of battered Chicago interactive shop marchFIRST still
in play, after the firm sold large portions of its assets to Havas
Advertising and incubator divine, Inc. marchFIRST clearly needs cash: it
filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week. Among the money it
owes is a sizable loan repayment to American National Bank; that loan was
slated for Monday.

“Given the current marketplace conditions, we can take advantage of some
of the opportunities out there,” said TribalDDB’s spokesperson.

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