What you need to know from the Christmas break

What you need to know from the Christmas break
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GroupM has bought a majority stake in experiential agency Play Communications as WPP’s media investment giant looks to strengthen its offer in this space. Managing director Shani Langi and co-founders Simon Horauf and Johannes Weissenbaeck will remain in charge of the agency, which works with Volkswagen, Tourism Queensland, Qantas and Optus. GroupM CEO John Steedman (pictured) said: “Our media agencies will be able to draw from a talented array of people within the organisation to bolster GroupM’s expertise in the activation space.”

Creative agency Imagination has a new Sydney managing director with Anthony Gowthrop taking the hot seat, taking charge of Australian operations. The former CEO of Enero-owned Precinct, he has experience in a range of disciplines, and also set up the Australian Business Theatre. He said: “The Imagination brand has been an industry benchmark my entire career. I'm excited about leading a great local Australian team and having the opportunity to share my regional experience across offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Mumbai, Bangalore, Singapore and Tokyo.”

The $15m McCain creative account has been settled with B&T’s Agency of the Year Whybin\TBWA scooping the account, held by Ogilvy for 25 years.  B&T had previously revealed Ogilvy had been knocked out of the pitch before the final stages, leaving a two-way tussle between Whybin and AJF.

Adman John Singleton has formed an alliance with mining magnate Gina Rinehart in a bid to change the direction and fortunes of Fairfax Media. Singo and Mark Carnegie have created a “consultation agreement” with Rinehart aimed at breaking up the company, with shares surging more than 7% on the back of the announcement.

Nine Entertainment Co is set to name a new board chaired by former Fox boss David Hasslingden, as it prepares to wave goodbye to the CVC ownership era with new hedge fund owners Apollo and Oaktree set to take the reins later this month. Hasslingden will be joined on the new-look board by Publicis Mojo CEO Jo Pollard, who was CEO of NineMSN, and former Federal treasurer Peter Costello. According to reports they will retify a new constitution and as well as plans to float the group on the stock market within 18-months.

Night-time presenter David Oldfield has quit radio station 2UE, with a statement from the Fairfax-owned station saying he had left for “family reasons”. However, a report in The Australian cites Oldfield saying a change in direction at the station was to blame for the departure. He was the highest-rating Monday to Friday presenter at the talkback station, but said they were “seeking an audience that is different to a regular talkback audience."

Wunderman has acquired a majority stake in digital and analytics firm Bienalto, as it looks to strengthen its capabilities across Asia Pacific. Bienalto, founded in 2005 with clients including Suncorp and Dan Murphy’s, will keep its name and management structure under the move. Managing director Hurol Inan said: “We have worked with Wunderman on several projects over the past two years and developed a very rewarding relationship. Being part of Wunderman, the world’s leading digital and CRM network is a great opportunity for us to access global resources, network clients and accelerate our growth”, said Hurol Inan.

ACP Magazines announced the final edition of Burke’s Backyard magazine would be the March 2013 issue, after printing it for nearly 15 years. The joint venture with CTC Productions will be wound up after a steady decline in circulation, which took away the profit margin. However, the YouTube channel, website and books will still continue.

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