Mark Penn, former chief strategy officer at Microsoft and political adviser to both Clintons, has plans to disrupt the ad world.
Penn told The Wall Street Journal that he wants to create a more digitally-focused advertising group, made up of companies which do not overlap in function – using his private equity fund Stagwell Group LLC, which raised $250 million in funding last July,
Stagwell Group has already acquired the agency Code and Theory, PR firm SKDKnickerbocker, as well as research firm NRG, but it is looking for more.
Penn said that Stagwell Group is looking for companies which have revenue “primarily in the $40 million to $50 million range.”
The former Microsoft exec has had a great deal of experience at Martin Sorrell’s advertising company WPP, where he held various roles, including CEO at PR firm Burson-Marsteller.
“In a lot of the big holding companies, there’s so much competition among the companies that that gets in the way of collaboration,” Penn said. “I can never eliminate that totally, but I’m trying to minimize that in the planning that we do.”
Penn’s vision is to create a “Noah’s ark, but we’ll have one of each kind,” he earlier told The New York Times. This means he will try to make sure there is little internal competition in his group, in contrast to holding companies.
With the backing of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Penn is in process of piecing the ark together.