After almost a year in the works, Chicago’s Commonground has merged with three existing ad agencies, three subsidiary production companies and two PR firms to form Commonground/MGS the first wholly minority-owned holding company in the US.
Described as “a merger of equals” by its five partners, the new entity will create and produce advertising aimed at minority, multicultural, urban and youth markets.
Headquartered in New York, with full-service offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Houston, Commonground/MGS will have a combined staff of 300 and expects to generate revenues of $50 million the first year.
The agencies forming the new Commonground/MGS are Commonground of Chicago, the largest of the merged companies; Miami-based MGSCOMM and New York-based Vidal Partnership.
Also merging is the PR agency The Cunningham Group, Miami.
CG Works, the digital media production arm of Commonground, and MGSCOMM subsidiaries Run Wild Productions and Post Master postproduction and SWAY Public Relations, will continue operating as separate brands within the new holding company.
“A minority-owned holding company fills an important hole in the landscape,” said Andrew J. England, EVP/chief marketing officer of MillerCoors, a Commonground client.
“A company like ours has to be open to where cultural influences are coming from.”
MillerCoors is among the two dozen clients of the new holding company. Others include American Family Insurance, BMO Harris, Florida Power & Light, IIT, Lincoln Financial group include Hyundai, Florida Lottery, Illinois Lottery, Miami Marlins, Bacardi, Coca-Cola, NBCUniversal, Outback Steakhouse, Tiffany and Verizon Wireless.
Commonground’s co-founders/managing partners Ahmad Islam and Sherman Wright as part of the five partner/principals of the entity. There are no plans to name a CEO to oversee the combined group.
Merging the founding companies was described by the partners as “phase one” of their strategy. The company is now looking for additional agencies to acquire. They are looking for companies “that are talent driven by an entrepreneurial spirit that, like us, want to dominate this new consumer space,” said Garcia-Serra, chairman/co-founder MGSCOMM.