PR behemoths to be united by WPP, Y&R deal - if final

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 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

bid.



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.



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