Hill+Knowlton Strategies acquires Montreal's Acertys

The WPP firm is boosting its footprint in Canada with additional services that can reach Canadians who speak English or French.

MONTREAL: Hill+Knowlton Strategies said Tuesday that it has acquired Canadian public engagement agency Acertys, which will expand its reach across French- and English-speaking Canada.

"As a truly national firm, we wanted to deepen our footprint in Quebec. This acquisition makes H+K the second largest agency in Quebec, which is good for our talent and even better for our ability to serve the divergent needs of our clients," said Goldy Hyder, president and CEO of H+K Canada.

Acertys, founded in 2006, is based in Montreal and has 13 employees. Its clients include both public and private organizations in industries such as urban development, real estate, transportation, energy, and natural resources.

The deal also builds on H+K’s 2012 acquisition of Ascentum, another public engagement firm located in Ottawa. It will also help the WPP agency provide national and bilingual services to its clients "at a time in which the role of the public is so paramount," explained Hyder. 

There will be no layoffs, the firm said. Acertys principals Isabelle Verreault and Jacques Bénard will become SVPs at H+K. Verreault will run the public engagement group in Quebec while Bénard will lead new business development.  

"This acquisition underscores yet again the importance of public engagement as a key service offering," Hyder said. "At a time in which the need to consult stakeholders, as well as indigenous communities, is essential, H+K is now in an even stronger position to ensure that open, transparent, and honest dialogue can take place to bring about the ‘social license’ necessary to make good public policy."

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