One of Ireland’s leading agencies for the last 30 years, DDFH&B, is to merge with sister agency Target McConnells following changes to its business, including the recent loss of both the eir and the National Lottery accounts.
The merger will take place over the next two months and is expected to be finalised in the first quarter of 2018. The CEO of the enlarged agency will be Target McConnell’s current CEO, Abi Moran while Gary Brown will be the agency’s chairman. Two joint-managing directors- Laura Daly and Enda Kelly- will report to Moran and Brown.
It is also understood that the merged agency will be re-named under the JWT umbrella and both the DDFH&B and Target McConnells brands will disappear once the merger is complete. The WPP-owned JWT has held a 28% stake in DDFH&B since it was set up 34 years ago.
It is also understood that clients of both agencies are in the process of being informed about the merger.
Clients of DDFH&B include Littlewoods Ireland, Kerry Foods, SuperValu, Irish Life, Water Wipes, Irish Life and Brennan’s Bread. Clients of Target McConnells include An Post, Vodafone, the League of Credit Unions, SafeFood, Knorr, xSecllco, Diageo and Knorr.
Other parts of the DDFH&B group of companies are not impacted by the merger including the PR company The Reputations Agency and the shopper marketing agency Goosebump. Neither will it impact on the agency’s 50% stake in media agency Mindshare which is co-owned with Ogilvy & Mather. Its existing 50% stake in media agency Maxus, meanwhile, is the subject of negotiations between DDFH&B and WPP following the decision to merge all the global operations of Maxus and MEC under the Wavemaker brand.
Co-founded in 1983 by executive chairman, Jim Donnelly, the agency’s largest shareholder, DDFH&B rapidly grew to become the biggest agency in Ireland. It is also one of the most creatively awarded Irish agencies down through the years and currently tops IAPI’s ADFX rankings with 88 ADFX wins, including three Grand Prix wins and 13 ADFX golds under its belt.
Historically, DDFH&B was also the largest agency in terms of both revenues and its underlying profitability, even during the recent economic downturn in Ireland. The most recent set of accounts for the year to the end of December 2015, show that it reported a turnover of €22.66m and a pre-tax profit of €797,000.