LC Williams to absorb DeFrancesco/Goodfriend in 'friendly' merger

CHICAGO: Two independent Chicago PR agencies are merging to gain the size needed in an increasingly competitive Midwest market.

CHICAGO: Two independent Chicago PR agencies are merging to gain the size needed in an increasingly competitive Midwest market.

CHICAGO: Two independent Chicago PR agencies are merging to gain the size needed in an increasingly competitive Midwest market.

LC Williams & Associates, which expects annual PR income of dollars 3.5 million for 2000, will acquire DeFrancesco/Goodfriend, with PR revenues of dollars 1 million. Major clients for the new LC Williams include Arthur Andersen, Ace Hardware and La-Z-Boy.

'From our perspective, we wanted to be able to offer broader services to our clients in a market that's becoming more competitive,' said DeFrancesco/Goodfriend co-founder John DeFrancesco, who will become an EVP at LC Williams (Gary Goodfriend will become SVP). Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is expected to be complete by year's end.

'In this marketplace, you need more depth and breadth to compete,' said Lou Williams, president of LC Williams.

The three principals have known each other for more than 20 years, having worked together for a Chicago firm eventually bought by Ruder Finn. Merger talks among the three began this summer. 'It really boils down to chemistry,' Williams said of the deal.

The takeover is the third for Williams since starting his firm in November 1985, the same year DeFrancesco/Goodfriend opened.

While Williams is often mentioned as a Chicago takeover target himself, he said he has no desire to sell and is looking for other deals that would further increase the size of his firm.



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