LONDON: The on-again, off-again acquisition of Young & Rubicam by the WPP Group seemed to be on again last week, with the WPP offer of a dollars 5 billion stock swap nudging ahead of a rumored late Publicis bid.
LONDON: The on-again, off-again acquisition of Young & Rubicam by
the WPP Group seemed to be on again last week, with the WPP offer of a
dollars 5 billion stock swap nudging ahead of a rumored late Publicis
If and when WPP’s purchase is consummated, the communications behemoth
will control PR agencies that generated a combined dollars 700 million
in fee income in 1999. The deal, which was expected to be formally
announced last Friday, will unite the world’s two largest PR agencies,
Burson-Marsteller and Hill & Knowlton, under one umbrella.
Other firms owned by Y&R include Cohn & Wolfe and Robinson Lerer &
Montgomery, while WPP counts Ogilvy as its other PR gem.
Details about the acquisition - and specifically about its effect on Y&R
and WPP PR agencies - remained sketchy as PRWeek went to press. Given
the size of the companies involved, there is likely to be some executive
overlap, as well as numerous client conflicts.
However, clients who work with the agencies involved did not appear
concerned about the prospective transfer of ownership. Sears SVP of PR
and government affairs Ron Culp, whose company employs Burson, said he
was not worried about potential client conflicts: ’We have a great
working relationship with Burson-Marsteller. The agency has high walls,
even between account teams.’
Publicis was quick to deny persistent rumors last week that it had
re-emerged as a suitor.