Paul Wilmot, managing partner of Paul Wilmot Communications, said a low multiple of earnings is likely for a majority stake in a communications company and nine times EBITDA (or less) for a buyout. 'There are no fixed assets," he explained. 'It's all goodwill and betting that the company can retain and grow its client base." Wilmot added that MDC's strategy of maintaining a majority stake in a company while allowing it to largely maintain operational control isn't common in the p.r. and marketing business, but it's a good motivational tool for 'the original people to come up with fresh, new ideas and maybe share in the growth of the company."
Alison Brod, president of Alison Brod Public Relations, said she is 'very familiar with MDC and the executives there." And, like many in p.r., she is often approached by ad agencies. That trend may grow, she added, because as ad pages continue to decline, ad agencies are looking in other directions. Brod said that, while the concept of accepting outsider money for new office space, additional technology or more senior staff can be attractive, the downside is that money can be spread over several years and the possibility that 'you are giving up a lot of control if the company is growing." Having said that, she has not ruled out the possibility. — Amy Wicks