Dentsu plans PR expansion with US agency acquisition

Japanese advertising group Dentsu has acquired US agency Mitchell Communications Group as it plans to expand its global PR capabilities.

Tim Andree: Dentsu Network CEO
Tim Andree: Dentsu Network CEO

Dentsu Network CEO Tim Andree said the acquisition was the beginning of the firm's efforts to develop a global PR function, PRWeek US reports.

Andree said: ‘We are building our PR function pretty late. Most of the other holding companies have built themselves out, and we hope that will make all the difference because we plan to make sure that it gets done in ways that are not about scale and scope, but about quality and connectivity, as well as built-in integration with the other comms functions.’

Expansion may come from acquisition, growing operations within its other firms, or extending Mitchell's brand, he said.

Mitchell Communications has 75 employees in its Arkansas-based office. Clients include Walmart, Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Procter and Gamble. President and CEO Elise Mitchell will remain chief executive, while executive vice-president and chief strategy officer Sarah Clark will become president.

Mitchell will help to build the network’s PR offering, becoming CEO of the Dentsu’s global PR network, reporting to Andree.

The deal signals Dentsu’s first wholly owned foray into PR. The group has made a number of acquisitions in the advertising and media industry to strengthen its global business outside Asia, including the purchase of media buying group Aegis for £3.2bn last summer. Dentsu Public Relations, part of Dentsu group, formed a strategic partnership with Publicis-owned MSL Group in 2010.

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