Omnicom negotiating an AMV buyout

LONDON: Omnicom communications group is poised to boost its annual PR fee income by over $16 million to $480 million if it succeeds in its plan to take control of UK advertising group Abbott Mead Vickers.

LONDON: Omnicom communications group is poised to boost its annual PR fee income by over $16 million to $480 million if it succeeds in its plan to take control of UK advertising group Abbott Mead Vickers.

The $580 million deal would include UK PR agencies Fishburn Hedges, Freud Communications, Aurelia Public Relations, Frew Macmaster and Hammond Communications, all part of AMV.

Last week AMV told the London Stock Exchange it was in preliminary discussions with Omnicom Group, which may or may not lead to a share exchange offer by Omnicom. A further announcement is expected in due course.

Omnicom already has a 27.7% shareholding in AMV, but wants to acquire the remaining shares. Omnicom is already the largest owner of PR agencies in the world. In its stable are Fleishman Hillard, Porter Novelli International, Ketchum Group, Gavin Anderson, Brodeur Worldwide, Copithorne & Bellows and lobbying firm GPC.

PN and FH are grouped under an umbrella division, communications consulting worldwide, whose chairman and chief executive is John Graham. Graham is also worldwide head of FH. It is not clear whether AMV's PR agencies would come under his control.

The deal would take the group's combined annual fee income to at least $480 million, according to PRWeek's Top 150 league table.

Young and Rubicam, which owns Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe, had annual fees of around $303 million last year. Interpublic, which owns Shandwick and its sister agency Golin/Harris and Weber PR had fees of around $310 million.

Senior executives on both sides were unable to comment on the deal due to UK takeover and merger rules.

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