IPG Mediabrands Australia is taking a major step to accelerate its momentum in the Melbourne market, announcing that it will merge major media communications brands UM and MBThree.

IPG Mediabrands executive chairman Henry Tajer said the move was designed to maximize business opportunities in Melbourne and to bring together a highly talented management team to run the new powerhouse agency.

“MBThree was created in September 2011 out of UM primarily to focus on our media partnership with Coles. The business has been a runaway success not just with Coles but it has won its own clients such as Moose Enterprise and Bauer,” said Tajer.

“UM Melbourne has also made strong headway and is without doubt a key player in the market with top-class clients including Kmart, Target, Australia Post and L’Oreal,” he continued. “A merger of the two agencies makes sense as we plan for future growth.”

The new agency will operate as UM Melbourne and report jointly to UM Australia’s national CEO Mat Baxter and Peter Butler, who has been managing director of MBThree since its launch. Butler will take on the role of managing director of IPG Mediabrands’ Melbourne operations, a new position.

The day-to-day operations of the new UM Melbourne will be led by three joint managing partners, which are also new appointments. Kim Lion (managing director of UM Melbourne) will manage the commercial aspects of the agency; Alex Smith (general manager, MBThree) will oversee client relationships and David Hearn (head of strategy at UM Melbourne) will lead strategy across the business. Tajer stated that Lion, Smith and Hearn were highly effective executives and their new roles reflect the impact they have had at MBThree and UM over time.

In Butler’s new IPG Mediabrands position he will work with the leaders of IPG Mediabrands’ national businesses and the Melbourne-market leaders to bring greater collaboration on client portfolios, business development, local marketing and ensure new initiatives developed nationally or internationally find traction in the Melbourne market.

Baxter sees the new UM Melbourne as a fine combination of top-class management strength and a strong client portfolio. “UM in Melbourne benefits significantly from this merger, gaining great complementary skills from MBThree, said Baxter. “Not to mention the momentum from a more diverse client list. It’s a very exciting development.”

Butler echoed those sentiments, adding that the new UM Melbourne was an important development for clients: “The new agency will have much greater scale and resources than two agencies working in parallel and this is good news for our clients.”