Lighthouse laps up IR shop Morgen-Walke

CHICAGO: Lighthouse Global Network made its first foray into the US PR scene last week by snatching up Morgen-Walke, a dollars 25 million IR operation.

CHICAGO: Lighthouse Global Network made its first foray into the US PR scene last week by snatching up Morgen-Walke, a dollars 25 million IR operation.

CHICAGO: Lighthouse Global Network made its first foray into the US

PR scene last week by snatching up Morgen-Walke, a dollars 25 million IR

operation.



Placed alongside the UK-based Financial Dynamics, which Lighthouse

bought last summer (PRWeek, August 9, 1999), the purchase creates a

dollars 50+ million IR/financial PR behemoth. Both companies will be

housed in Lighthouse’s Business Communications Group.



Founded in 1982, the New York-based M-W is one of the most respected IR

shops around, handling work for over 200 mostly small- to mid-cap

companies.



But co-founder Lynn Morgen said the time had come to expand its

offerings into crisis, M&A and corporate branding, which necessitated an

influx of cash.



Industry sources said that M-W - while a solid firm with good leadership

- could not handle much beyond ’block and tackle’ IR and thus was very

interested in selling. One went so far as to call M-W an IR

’factory.’



’Our business was built on plain old IR,’ Morgen said. ’Over the years

we have developed crisis and M&A expertise, but only for existing

clients. We knew that we would eventually have to increase our

resources.’



Enter Lighthouse president Martin Beck, who began talking to Morgen and

co-founder David Walke last summer. With revenues just under dollars 200

million, Lighthouse has 1,200 employees and 14 companies under its

umbrella, including extensive design, product development, marketing and

branding capabilities.



Boasting a war chest of over dollars 200 million, the privately owned

Lighthouse has made no bones about its desire for US-based PR firms. M-W

fits neatly into the strategy of acquiring firms that can expand the

’message shaping’ portion of the company.



’We’re very interested in the IR component of PR as an initial way of

entering (the market),’ Beck said.



The cash-and-stock deal is already paying dividends for M-W, as it

recently won two pitches for UK-based companies that came as a result of

referrals from Financial Dynamics. Lighthouse will also look to revive

M-W’s moribund Paris office, which had a rough year in 1999. No changes

in the firm’s senior management are expected.



LIGHTHOUSE GLOBAL NETWORK HOLDINGS

LGN Business Communications:

Morgen-Walke

Financial Dynamics

LGN Design & Development:

AAD

C&FD

Fitch

The Leonhardt Group

Peckers Paris

Primo Angeli

LGN Marketing Services:

AVID Group

Communicator

Davidson Marketing

Fantastic

Int’l Sports Marketing

Sports Pro Hawaii



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