Ad agency invests in Australian firm

December 14, 1991|By Michael Pollick

W. B. Doner & Co., a Baltimore advertising agency that already does some international business, is expanding into Australia through a new investment. The company said yesterday that it has taken "a substantial equity position" in the nation's fourth-largest Australian-owned agency, Luscombe & Partners.

While the initial investment does not represent a takeover, Doner Chairman Herbert D. Fried said the agreement calls for "slowly acquiring" Luscombe.

The Australian firm has offices in Melbourne and Sydney and will generate billings of $36 million this year. Its accounts include United Distillers and Cadbury.

Doner, which does $400 million a year in billings, already has offices in London, Toronto and Montreal in addition to its six U.S. offices. The agency handles advertising for Britain's BP Oil and Clarke Foods.

Doner and Luscombe have worked together on advertising for BP Oil and Chiquita Brands International, the banana marketing subsidiary of Cincinnati-based United Brands.

Mr. Fried said the pact with Luscombe should help business both in Australia and in the United States.

Luscombe handles some of the business of some U.S. jTC companies that are "very interesting to us," such as U.S. Distillers, Mr. Fried said.

"To take it the other way, we expect the Luscombe agency to help Doner in securing Australian business that would advertise over here," Mr. Fried said.

He cited as possible candidates Australia's tourism promotion account and its bureau to promote wool sales.

Separately, Doner's Canadian arm, Doner Schur Peppler, announced that it has been appointed to handle all advertising for the Red Lobster Canada restaurant chain. Part of General Mills Restaurants Canada, the chain operates 70 restaurants.

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