Eric Newnham’s new outdoor outfit Talon hits the big time with £150m Omnicom media win

We predicted that former Kinetic boss Eric Newnham (left) would set up a real third force in UK (and maybe worldwide) out of home media planning and buying when he bought a majority stake in UK minnow Talon – and now he’s proved the point by winning OMG’s UK outdoor business from Aegis-owned Posterscope.

Nobody, though, expected him to land business as big as OMG so soon. Omnicom-owned OMG accounts for about 15 per cent of the UK outdoor market which means billings of over £150m. Omnicom’s UK agencies include AMV/BBDO, DDB and TBWA, all big users of posters.

Two recent developments at Posterscope have helped certainly helped his case. The first is the takeover of owner Aegis by Dentsu in a £3.2m deal. Dentsu, which also operates full-service agencies including Mcgarrybowen, is a bigger direct rival to Omnicom (which doesn’t have its own outdoor operation) than Aegis on its own was.

Secondly Annie Rickard, the legendary boss of Posterscope, is believed to be planning to call it a day when the Dentsu deal is bedded down. Rickard’s relationship with Omnicom media supremo Colin Gottlieb was key to the OMG/Posterscope relationship.

A third factor may be rumoured arrival of former Posterscope managing director Steve Bond at Talon although Talon denies this. Talon has already hired former Posterscope executive Frank Bryant plus veteran agency planner Andy Tilley as strategy chief.

OMG UK CEO Philippa Brown says: “Given Talon’s ambition to lead the marketplace, the evident pedigree of its leadership, the quality of their tools and systems, and their commitment to providing our clients with the a fresh, powerful and integrated approach to out-of-home in the UK, we could not turn down this exciting opportunity to join forces.”

Which is very nice of her.

It will be interesting to see when and if Talon lands some business from WPP-owned Kinetic, Newnham’s former home.

Then the fur really will start to fly.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.