Sorrell to maintain PR brands after merger

The takeover by Martin Sorrell’s WPP of US marketing services group Young and Rubicam will leave both companies’ global PR networks intact, senior industry sources said this week.

The takeover by Martin Sorrell’s WPP of US marketing services group

Young and Rubicam will leave both companies’ global PR networks intact,

senior industry sources said this week.



The WPP/Y&R deal, valuing the New York concern at more than three

billion pounds, will create the world’s biggest group in its sector. It

will combine under one holding company Hill and Knowlton,

Burson-Marsteller, Ogilvy PR and Cohn and Wolfe.



The deal emerged after an attempt by French firm Publicis to buy Y&R

foundered when Y&R client Ford voiced concerns over the fact that

Publicis works for major Ford rival Renault.



Industry sources confirmed that agreement was reached in principle last

Sunday with clients being consulted and informed throughout this

week.



The deal is subject to a period of due diligence which may take several

months.



Senior PR figures predicted that all major agencies in the new group

will remain distinct. H&K chairman David McLaren said: ’WPP has a long

track record of running competing networks as separate agencies without

problems of client conflicts.’



Donna Zurcher, MD of Ogilvy in the UK, said: ’We have not been led to

believe there would be any brand mergers within the new group.’



P Hill and Knowlton has retained its high-fee GE Capital account, two

months after the work was retendered. H&K beat off competition from

Shandwick, Ogilvy and GCI.



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