FitzGerald splits from Brodeur to protect 'brand independence'

BOSTON: Technology-focused PR firms FitzGerald Communications and Brodeur Worldwide have parted ways less than two years after Omnicom-owned Brodeur acquired the independent FitzGerald.

BOSTON: Technology-focused PR firms FitzGerald Communications and Brodeur Worldwide have parted ways less than two years after Omnicom-owned Brodeur acquired the independent FitzGerald.

FitzGerald will remain an Omnicom agency, but will no longer be a subsidiary of Brodeur. FitzGerald is in the second year of its four-year earn-out. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed when the firm was acquired in March 2002.

"We are operating, and have been operating as an autonomous agency within Omnicom," said FitzGerald president and founder Maura FitzGerald. "These types of relationships are dynamic and have to be reviewed on an ongoing basis to see what will work best for all the parties involved. And with the market coming back, we felt there was room for two agencies to focus on technology PR."

FitzGerald denied that there was any acrimony between her and Brodeur's management, and said that she was concerned about maintaining brand independence.

"We are keeping our brand," she said. "What this really does is ensure that our brand won't be swallowed up. I think our brand has maintained its identity and integrity."

She dismissed the idea that there was any kind of "dust up" with Brodeur that led to the split, which she called amicable. Phone calls to Brodeur were not returned.

FitzGerald hinted that she now doubts a driving motivation behind her decision to sell, which was a desire to increase her firm's global reach.

"I don't think American companies are as concerned with your ability to do business for them internationally, as they are concerned with a strong brand image domestically," she said.

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