Canadian firm National PR acquires Shift Communications

Shift Communications CEO Todd Defren said there are no major changes planned for his agency following the acquisition.

Front row from left, from Shift: Amy Lyons, Todd Defren, Jim Joyal, Paula Finestone. Second row, from National PR: Valerie Beauregard, Jean-Pierre Vasseur, Royal Poulin.
Front row from left, from Shift: Amy Lyons, Todd Defren, Jim Joyal, Paula Finestone. Second row, from National PR: Valerie Beauregard, Jean-Pierre Vasseur, Royal Poulin.

MONTREAL: Shift Communications has been acquired by Canadian firm National Public Relations.

Both firms announced the deal on Wednesday. Shift will keep its name and leadership team following the acquisition, which has been in the works for about a year. Todd Defren, CEO of Shift, said there are no major changes planned for the agency.

"We realized that there’s a tier of competition above us," Defren told PRWeek. "Regardless of how much we innovate, the big firms are going to be able to catch up. National will help us amplify what we already do."

Defren said the firms have shared values and visions, which made the decision to sell and transition easier. Shift has been an independent agency since its founding 13 years ago.

"They wanted to keep the culture and the brand," he said. "This is about growth."

National PR, with offices across Canada, New York, London, and Copenhagen, is working on a long-term strategy to diversify its offerings and expand internationally, according to a press release.

National also recently acquired AXON Communications, a healthcare consultancy in New York. Bringing Shift into the National PR family adds another four U.S. offices in Boston, New York, Austin, and San Francisco.

Defren said National PR gains an "instant footprint in the U.S. with arguably the hottest firm in the U.S."

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