INTERNATIONAL: Ogilvy PR Worldwide buys stakes in Australian shops

SYDNEY: Ogilvy PR Worldwide is making an audacious assault on the

Australian PR market, taking a stake in five local agencies, and

claiming a combined fee income of pounds 6.6m.



The agency claims the move will leapfrog it instantly into the

market-leading position, ahead of Turnbull Porter Novelli, Professional

Public Relations, plus Hill & Knowlton and Burson-Marsteller's

Australian operations.



It completes the agency's Asia-Pacific geographic coverage, and will

fall under the remit of Matthew Anderson, Hong Kong-based Ogilvy

Asia-Pacific president.



Ogilvy's Australian operation will comprise five specialist agencies:

government affairs shop Parker & Partners; Savage & Horrigan, a recently

formed corporate and financial specialist; hi-tech firm Howorth

Communications; Ethnic Communications, an ad and PR agency that

specialises in targeting non-English speaking communities, and Impact

Employee Communications, an internal communications firm.



Ogilvy takes an equity stake in all agencies. No details were revealed,

but rumours suggested the stake was, in some cases, as low as 20 per

cent.



All the agencies will keep their individual names, offices and distinct

identities, but will refer to themselves as part of Ogilvy PR, and the

head of each agency will sit on a management board.



Chris Savage, Savage & Horrigan principal, has been appointed as

managing partner of the group.



The deal has raised some concerns. Savage, formerly B-M vice-chairman

Asia Pacific, admitted the deal was not the easiest way of doing things:

'But we saw an opportunity to become the most specialised agency, and

this was the best route to allow us to offer what the market is asking

for.'



Anderson acknowledged that it was a bold move, but said: 'We've chosen

our partners extremely carefully, done tons of due diligence and the

management board is a strong operations group.'



Others were sceptical of Ogilvy's claim to have formed the largest

agency.



Turnbull Porter Novelli chairman Noel Turnbull said: 'I'm very

interested in their claims, and my only response is if they're obsessed

with how big they are then I'm a bit worried for them.'



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