Editorial: Deals can be bad for your health

Had any interesting propositions recently? The rush by big agency networks to snap up the ever-dwindling pool of independents has reached fever pitch, with deals sealed by top 20 shops MWW and Morgen Walke in the past few weeks alone. This week, in the first of two-part special feature (page 16), PRWeek looks at the occasionally grim reality beyond agency unions, particularly those where one partner has its roots in the advertising world.

Had any interesting propositions recently? The rush by big agency networks to snap up the ever-dwindling pool of independents has reached fever pitch, with deals sealed by top 20 shops MWW and Morgen Walke in the past few weeks alone. This week, in the first of two-part special feature (page 16), PRWeek looks at the occasionally grim reality beyond agency unions, particularly those where one partner has its roots in the advertising world.

Had any interesting propositions recently? The rush by big agency networks to snap up the ever-dwindling pool of independents has reached fever pitch, with deals sealed by top 20 shops MWW and Morgen Walke in the past few weeks alone. This week, in the first of two-part special feature (page 16), PRWeek looks at the occasionally grim reality beyond agency unions, particularly those where one partner has its roots in the advertising world.

Profit margins in the PR agency world have become a glittering prize to ad groups facing a squeeze in their client's budgets. With five global ad networks currently stalking the PR industry, independents with a solid management structure and a good client base are becoming the holy grail.

But if you're thinking of signing away your agency anytime soon, read our feature first. You might think you're buying into a mutually supportive relationship but you need to be aware of the fact that, as Rick Gould puts it 'you'll have high-powered financial people looking at your numbers every month.' And that's one of the less frightening tales of post-sale blues.

But let's not get too caught up in the dark side of agency mergers. You cannot, after all, have your agency cake and eat it - there is a price to be paid with the money you get. It's good to be realistic about what kind of deal you are going into (and part two next week will bring you essential detail on how to calculate your agency's price) but the reality of today's PR industry is that agencies need to have either a multinational reach or a specialism. Those stuck between the two posts had better get themselves a partner fast, or risk being left high and dry when clients ask 'What can you offer us?'





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