INTERNATIONAL: A record year as the top US shops revenues hit pounds 1.6bn

The Top 25 agencies in the US grew by a third last year, and by the

same amount across the globe, statistics reveal.



Fueled by a booming economy and a slew of dot.com business, US revenues

for the Top 25 agencies leapt from pounds 1.2bn to nearly pounds 1.6bn,

according to figures released last week by the Council of PR Firms.

Global revenues grew from pounds 1.8bn to almost pounds 2.5bn in

2000.



Acquisitions played a limited part in the US expansion, with organic

growth of just 23 per cent. But growth in the rest of the world was

boosted by acquisitions, as agencies sought to expand their global

reach. Worldwide organic growth was 13 per cent.



St Louis-based Fleishman-Hillard was crowned the largest agency in the

world, overtaking Burson-Marsteller. While third in the US ranking, B-M

slipped to fourth globally behind the newly-merged Weber Shandwick

Worldwide and fellow WPP agency Hill & Knowlton. WSW CEO Larry Weber,

who had hoped to win the number one spot following the Shandwick merger,

said: 'I congratulate Fleishman, but we'll be back.'



Edelman PR Worldwide remains the only independent in the Top 10,

measured by US fees. It grew 32 per cent in 2000.



The figures are for too early a period to reflect the collapse in new

economy stocks in the US over the last six months. There was further

evidence this week that corporate belt-tightening is having a negative

impact on the PR world, with a fresh round of more than 50 redundancies

in New York's consultancy sector.



Cohn & Wolfe has axed 30 of its 250 staff, with most in the tech and

corporate practices. The agency's New York office was the hardest hit,

losing 12 people.



Porter Novelli was also forced to shed 12 jobs in New York. FitzGerald

Communications also lost 12 staff in Boston and San Francisco.



TOP 10 US PR AGENCY RANKINGS

Rank Firm Name US Revenue (pounds) Growth %

US 2000 1999 Pro Forma Organic

1 Fleishman-Hillard 186,502 126,621 47 27

2 Weber Shandwick Worldwide 153,199 125,348 22 17

3 Burson-Marsteller 127,390 115,220 11 11

4 Hill & Knowlton 124,314 96,542 29 23

5 Edelman 117,725 89,577 32 29

6 BSMG 103,020 85,299 21 21

7 Ketchum 100,504 86,394 16 16

8 Porter Novelli 94,990 74,489 28 18

9 Ogilvy PR 90,220 64,437 40 40

10 Golin/Harris 75,429 51,845 45 40



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