WPP-backed agency partnership venture to include Halpern PR

Marketing services giant WPP is backing a new international holding company majority-owned by nine specialist agencies including Halpern PR.

Halpern founder Jenny Halpern Prince and MD Jennifer Burner
Halpern founder Jenny Halpern Prince and MD Jennifer Burner

According to Campaign, The&Partnership spans ten disciplines: advertising, design, CRM, media, data, analytics, PR, social, digital and product creation.

It will be majority-owned by the founders of the constituent agencies and WPP will be a significant minority shareholder.

CHI & Partners, the ad agency that acquired 50.1 per cent of Halpern last month, appears to have led the creation of the group, which will have a single bottom line.

The&Partnership’s global chief executive will be CHI & Partners’ founding partner Johnny Hornby and its chief financial officer will be the same agency’s managing partner Peter Walker. WPP owns a 49.9 per cent stake in CHI.

In addition to Halpern and CHI the group comprises, the ad agency Bates CHI & Partners; the media agency network M/SIX; the CRM and digital agency Rapier; the social media agency The Social Practice; the creative innovation practice Matter; The Box, which offers clients a bespoke agency service; and a new data service.

Hornby said: "Traditionally, entrepreneurs start businesses, build them up, sell them and disappear after their earn-outs. In our new model, the entrepreneurs and founders stay involved and share ownership amongst each other and with their senior partners.

"Not unlike the law firm model, we are owner-drivers who realise that to develop truly modern campaigns, it isn’t a baton-passing exercise. It’s about senior experts across disciplines working together. Having one bottom line removes the politics and nonsense that holds back so many of our competitive traditional networks."

The&Partnership will have more than 1,400 staff spread across 23 offices in 17 countries.

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