Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Stagwell Group, an investment company in Washington, D.C. that specializes in advertising and marketing companies, has agreed to make a $100 million equity investment in MDC Partners, an ad agency holding group with dozens of brands but still considered tiny compared to major ad holding companies like Omnicom, WPP or Publicis.

Why it matters: Stagwell president and managing partner Mark Penn says there's a sweet spot in the ad agency world where he thinks his bet will pay off.

  • "Companies these size can invest in talent," Penn says. "Big holding companies tend to de-emphasize talent-based systems. I love nothing more than a smart person running a kickass agency. That's where you can be the most successful."

Details: Penn tells Axios that he has no plans to spin out any of MDC's individual companies, in part because semi-scale is part of his strategy.

"I think this scale [Stagwell and MDC] is the right one to achieve and leverage synergies and great talent and top accounts."

The big picture: Some industry execs have wondered whether Penn's political past, or the political affiliation associated with some of Stagwell's holding companies, could create a culture clash between the D.C.-based holding group and the New York-based MDC.

Yes, but: Penn says he's no longer the political hack that he used to be, although he does still participate in a lot of news commentary on cable channels.

  • "I haven’t done any politics over 10 years, I have no plans change that," Penn says. "I'm dedicated 100% make sure these businesses achieve what they can achieve."
  • Penn adds that "90% of Stagwell's business is non-political," and "if you combine MDC and Stagwell, it would be 96%."

Go deeper: Penn flipped on the Clintons last year

Go deeper

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:45 p.m. ET: 19,282,972 — Total deaths: 718,851 — Total recoveries — 11,671,491Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:45 p.m. ET: 4,937,441 — Total deaths: 161,248 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Politics: Trump says he's prepared to sign executive orders on coronavirus aid.
  4. Education: Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning.
  5. Public health: Surgeon general urges flu shots to prevent "double whammy" with coronavirus — Massachusetts pauses reopening after uptick in coronavirus cases.
  6. World: Africa records over 1 million coronavirus cases — Gates Foundation puts $150 million behind coronavirus vaccine production.

Warren and Clinton to speak on same night of Democratic convention

(Photos: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images, Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton both are slated to speak on the Wednesday of the Democratic convention — Aug. 19 — four sources familiar with the planning told Axios.

Why it matters: That's the same night Joe Biden's running mate (to be revealed next week) will address the nation. Clinton and Warren represent two of the most influential wise-women of Democratic politics with the potential to turn out millions of establishment and progressive voters in November.

Trump considering order on pre-existing condition protections, which already exist

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday he will pursue an executive order requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, something that is already law.

Why it matters: The Affordable Care Act already requires insurers to cover pre-existing conditions. The Trump administration is currently arguing in a case before the Supreme Court to strike down that very law — including its pre-existing condition protections.