Pollster Mark Penn’s Stagwell Group inks deal with MDC Partners

The Stagwell Group, founded by pollster Mark Penn, signed a deal this week to combine with MDC Partners, creating one of the world’s biggest ad holding groups.

Penn, who is also co-director of the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey, will be chairman and CEO of the combined company and its more than 10,000 employees. MDC Partners will retire its name.

Stagwell will own 69 percent of the combined company, with former MDC shareholders owning 31 percent. Axios reported that the deal is “the largest transaction in the advertising sector so far this year.”

“In 2015, I started Stagwell with a vision to create a digital-first, collaborative, founder-led alternative to the holding companies that was focused on delivering what modern marketers need. We started with an idea and a great investor; less than six years later, we take the next step,” Penn said in a statement Monday.

Following a dispute, MDC shareholders voted to approve the previously announced merger between Penn’s two holding networks by a clear two-thirds majority last week.

Penn said he expects the new firm to have revenues of more than $2 billion in 2021, which would make it the seventh largest ad holding group in the world. In 2020, MDC Partners was ranked ninth globally. The combined company will be competing with the likes of Britain-based WPP, U.S.-based Omnicom Group and the French group Publicis.

According to Statista data, online advertising revenue in the United States has grown from $26 billion in 2010 to $139.8 billion last year. In 2020, close to half of all online ad revenue was generated through search advertising. Industry experts project that digital advertising expenditures in the U.S. will surpass $200 billion by 2023.

Tags Mark Penn online advertising pollster Shareholders

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