CHICAGO: Golin/Harris International has bought The MWW Group - a move that will send Golin's PR revenues soaring.
While deal participants were not disclosing terms, the price of the takeover could top the pounds 50 million paid for Cunningham Communications by UK-based Incepta Group earlier this year.
New Jersey-based MWW will keep its name and offices and expects revenues to grow from last year's pounds 18.5 million to pounds 24 million this year.
The deal further diminishes the dwindling supply of independent PR networks.
'There aren't a lot of firms the size of MWW left to buy,' said Golin president Dave Gilbert.
Discussions about a purchase started a year ago and heated up in the past three months, Gilbert said, describing a period of heightened expansion activity for his firm.
MWW practice areas include IR, public affairs, consumer PR and e-business/technology.
The retention of MWW's separate branding was a key attraction to MWW president, CEO and principal owner Michael Kempner.
'Keeping our identity was important to us,' he said. 'Golin appreciated and understood who we were.'
According to Kempner, Golin's international reach was also an attraction, as was the expansion support it has had from its own parent company, the Interpublic Group.
For Golin's part, Gilbert added that keeping the brand separate will provide an opportunity to go after client business that might otherwise be a conflict for Golin. Gilbert said one more acquisition is likely.
IPG recently reorganised its PR operations, which saw Golin pick up capabilities in public affairs, lobbying and technology in the wake of Weber's merger with Shandwick (PR Week, 22 September).