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Founders of Commonground plan for new agency following partnership failure

(December 8, 2015) Commonground/MGS, the agency partnership that formed less than 15 months ago, was forced to close it doors December 5th after failed negotiations between the holding company-owner, PCH Communications LLC and its financial lender, Fifth Third Bank.

Last Friday, an e-mailed statement abruptly informed the 240 employees in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Houston. It said in part "Over the last several weeks, we have been carrying out good faith negotiations with our senior lender to attempt to obtain relief from these challenges and we believed we were close to an acceptable resolution with the lender. To our surprise and dismay however, the lender took hostile actions against CGMGS and froze our bank accounts earlier this week." 

"While we have since been attempting to obtain relief from the lender, including negotiations as late as today, the lender has simply refused to release our funds so that we can keep our business going. It is therefore with deep regret and heavy heart that we have to inform you that without access to funds, we are no longer able to operate our business. Your employment will therefore terminate effective today, December 5, 2015."

The co-founders of the Commonground ad agency told Target Market News that they were as shocked by the banks actions as the employees. Sherman Wright and Ahmad Islam said that they are organizing a new entity in Chicago under a different name to pursue agency operations. They also plan to pursue new client opportunities.

In October 2014, marketing communications firms Commonground, MGCOMM and The Vidal Partnership announced their coming together to form Commonground/MGS, a wholly minority-owned holding company. The new umbrella firm combined eight firms and 300 employees in offices in four cities with projected net revenues of $50 million.

Among the agency's clients are American Family Insurance, NBC Universal, Bacardi, Miller Lite and Target.


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