Hill+Knowlton and Buchanan form Middle East and Africa venture

WPP PR agencies Hill+Knowlton Strategies and Buchanan have formed a new body called H+K Financial to offer corporate and financial comms across the Middle East and Africa.

New venture: H+K Financial will combine the expertise of both WPP agencies
New venture: H+K Financial will combine the expertise of both WPP agencies

The venture will include 60 PR professionals, 25 of whom will be existing H+K employees based at the agency’s network of 15 offices across the MEA region. The remaining 35 employees will be Buchanan staff operating from London.

Buchanan senior partner Bobby Morse told PRWeek: "H+K is very good at corporate communications and consumer communications but it doesn’t do what we do from an investor relations or financial comms perspective, not on any scale. So it just seemed to make sense [to form the venture]."

He added: "H+K has been there for a long time and has a lot of people on the ground, particularly in Saudi Arabia; it has two substantial offices, one in Riyadh, one in Jeddah. That market in particular is one that is really massively opening up. It has just allowed international investors to invest directly into Saudi equities. That will accelerate the requirement for some of these Saudi companies to seek international investors."

While H+K has had a presence in MEA for 30 years, Buchanan’s last formal move into the region came under a joint venture with WPP advertising agency JWP called Buchanan Middle East, which retreated after the financial crash of 2008. Morse said the agency has been working "from afar" on projects with H+K and fellow WPP PR agency Ogilvy.

Sconaid McGeachin, CEO of Hill+Knowlton Strategies in the MEA region, said: "We have been partners with Buchanan on a number of client assignments and have established a strong working relationship. It makes sense to formalise an agreement to establish the pre-eminent financial communications firm in the region to tap into the growing need for specialist advisory and investor relations services.

"This is a win-win for clients as they benefit from combining the strength of the region’s longest-established international communications consultancy with one of the City of London’s most respected financial communications firms."

Morse added: "With the positive regulatory changes in MEA markets, and the increasing demand from the global investment community to invest in quality growth opportunities, this partnership with H+K provides not only a comprehensive network, but also a heritage of excellence built over 30 years throughout the region to deliver best in class corporate reputation, investor relations and financial communications to MEA companies."

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