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Market forces determine Shorter move

THE on-again-off-again merger between Marketforce and The Shorter Group has finally been confirmed by both parties following months of vehement denials.

The worst-kept secret in town is likely to draw some interest from the property sector, despite a lacklustre response from the advertising sector.

The Shorter Group managing director Bruce Shorter confirmed that the merger meant all the group’s employees would relocate to Market-force’s building in West Perth after just over 12 months in the premises in East Perth.

It’s understood The Shorter Group initially paid $2.75 million for the two storey, 2,800 sqm building and spent 12 months refitting the interior of the 1959 building.

What remains of the impressive offices in East Perth will be sold in the near future, closing a turbulent chapter for the local advertising agency.

Mr Shorter said the carpark and warehouses on the property already had been sold, leaving only a small part of the development remaining.

Neither of the parties was willing to disclose any of the financial details surrounding the merger.

“The deal is something which obviously meets our mutual objectives and we’re very happy with the arrangement,” Marketforce group managing director John Driscoll said.

It’s understood that, under the deal, Marketforce will pick up the Shorter Group’s billings – estimated to be worth $10 million – and more than 20 staff.

The Shorter Group has been out in the market looking for a merger partner for the best part of a year, following a difficult period during which the agency lost a number of big clients, including part of the Burswood Resort Casino business.

Mr Driscoll said The Shorter Group and Marketforce had discussions earlier last year, however they didn’t reach any conclusion.

“It seems as it we’ve been in discussions for the last eight months, but for the larger part of that time we were not talking,” he said.

“This current deal has come together in the last two months.”

Mr Driscoll claims the merger is a good fit because both agencies share a very similar culture.

“Secondly, we both believe there are a large number of clients that require a full range of marketing services through their advertising agency,” he said.

“As the market shrinks, fewer and fewer agencies will be able to offer those services.”

Mr Shorter said the group was very excited about the prospect of joining forces with Marketforce, and that both organisations were very happy with the outcome.

All the staff at The Shorter Group will be retained following the merger.

The Brand account director Steve Harris said the middle ground was very hard place for agencies to operate in the Perth market.

“The Shorter scenario is an example of that, it’s expensive to operate at that size,” he said.

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