True North buys BJK&E

NEW YORK — In the latest merger among ad-agency giants, True North Communications capped a long-awaited deal to buy Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt for $440 million in stock.

True North, the Chicago-based parent company of Foote, Cone & Belding, is buying BJK&E and its Bozell Worldwide and Temerlin McClain agencies, whose major accounts include Chrysler Corp. and American Airlines. BJK&E rejected an earlier offer from Omnicom Group, another agency holding company, after Omnicom sought to fold Bozell into its existing units.

BJK&E was formerly owned by Lorimar until a management-led buyback of the agency for $133 million in 1989, after Warner Bros. acquired Lorimar.

Foote, Cone and Bozell will now become the two main agency units of True North, with BJK&E CEO Charles Peebler Jr. moving to president of the parent company, reporting to CEO Bruce Mason. The deal will double the company’s revenues to a projected $1.2 billion, and for now will include two separate media-buying groups, TN Media and BJK&E Media Group.

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