Struggling ad firm MDC Partners is reportedly close to agreeing to a deal which would see industry veteran Mark Penn take the helm as chief executive, with his investment firm also taking a minority stake in the business.
Reports in the Wall Street Journal suggest that the hunt for a buyer and chief executive, initiated last autumn, could soon be brought to an end. However, the paper cautions that the agreement could come to nothing.
MDC is the parent company of several high-profile creative agencies; including 72andSunny, Anomaly, and Crispin Porter Bogusky but has been hit hard by a general retrenchment in marketing spend - exacerbated by excessive debts which now stand at over $1bn.
Penn is positioning himself as a key player in the ad industry by capitalising on a wider downturn to further the interests of his own ad firm, Stagwell Group, although both companies would remain separate following any deal.
Founded by Penn in 2015 with $250m of seed funding, Stagwell is said to have grown rapidly to generate $500m in revenue for 2018 through a series of acquisitions such as UK agency Forward3D.