PR cuts likely as iVillage takes over rival

NEW YORK: iVillage's announcement that it had inked a deal to acquire Silicon Valley rival Women.com is likely to result in a handful of departures from the companies' PR and IR ranks, and has already cost one PR agency a healthy retainer.

NEW YORK: iVillage's announcement that it had inked a deal to acquire Silicon Valley rival Women.com is likely to result in a handful of departures from the companies' PR and IR ranks, and has already cost one PR agency a healthy retainer.

NEW YORK: iVillage's announcement that it had inked a deal to acquire Silicon Valley rival Women.com is likely to result in a handful of departures from the companies' PR and IR ranks, and has already cost one PR agency a healthy retainer.

The casualty is Women.com's PR firm of record, Ruder Finn. In early January - just one month before the iVillage announcement hit the street - Women.com and Ruder Finn's San Francisco office terminated their retainer-based relationship. While the agency still handles some Women.com PR work 'on a project basis,' it has lost a retainer that sources estimate is between dollars 240,000 and dollars 360,000 annually.

However, representatives from both iVillage and Women.com emphasized that no immediate layoffs were anticipated as a result of the merger, despite the inevitable duplication of roles as the bi-coastal companies consolidate.

Women.com has five people handling communications in-house - including two in San Mateo, CA, and two in New York. iVillage has about the same number, including former Abernathy MacGregor account head Carl Fischer, who recently joined to replace Jason Stell as corporate communications VP, and director of consumer media relations Winnie Atterbury.

According to Fischer, iVillage will continue to use Abernathy for business press and IR and Kaplow Communications for consumer PR after the merger.

For Ruder Finn's San Francisco office, the loss of Women.com puts a major dent in its once-thriving consumer practice.

While the 2-year-old branch represents such high-profile and profitable tech clients as Ricoh and Seagate Technologies, the consumer group has been heavily weighted with ailing dot-coms, including Grassroots and Asimba.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.