"We're not interested" in Interpublic Group says Dentsu Aegis CEO Jeremy Buhlmann in response to "troublemaking" Sorrell's merger prediction

Dentsu Aegis chief executive Jerry Buhlmann has dismissed rival network boss Sir Martin Sorrell’s prediction that the Japanese company will merge with another network, Interpublic Group. 

Sorrell predicted the merger following the collapse of the merger between Omnicom and Publicis earlier this year while forecasting further consolidation between marketing networks. 

Speaking to The Drum while attending Dmexco, Buhlmann said that he viewed Sorrell’s comments as “troublemaking” on the part of the WPP CEO. 

Buhlmann said: “He’s making it up as he goes along. He likes to do that as it creates a distraction on our business. We’re not interested in buying old, large, legacy agency networks and he’s the only one who is saying that.”

Of his merger and acquisition (M&A) strategy in the short term, Buhlmann revealed that Dentsu Aegis would continue to focus on small to medium-sized acquisitions in the future. 

“They bring in a lot of new talent and capability at scale in a market that is changing rapidly,” he said of the value of such deals.

“M&A accelerates our strategy. It isn’t a strategy in its own right, but it is a very good way of accelerating a strategy and is good at bringing a lot of smart people in. And we have a very good track record of people staying post earn out, above the industry average, as we retain 70 per cent post earn out.”

He added that the company was only interested in acquiring businesses that were interested in its own vision. 

“If they are not really interested or just want the money, we don’t tend to buy them. We tend to buy people we have a lot of empathy with, who buy into our vision, who are proven entrepreneurs and as a consequence you have a management capability who have owned their own businesses and sold it to the group and are part of a bigger vision…it creates a strong performance culture.”

Buhlmann has steered Dentsu Aegis since the acquisition of Aegis early last year.

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