W buys House PR to 'supercharge UK growth'

London-based comms agency W has acquired House PR for an undisclosed sum, with House set to trade as a standalone business within the wider group.

Acquisition: House PR MD Ginny Paton and W chief executive Warren Johnson
Acquisition: House PR MD Ginny Paton and W chief executive Warren Johnson

The move will see House PR’s 14 staff move to W’s new global HQ in Great Titchfield Street, although the two agencies will be based on separate floors "to maintain their distinct identities as well as operational independence".

House PR specialises in clients in the entertainment and hospitality industries, including Freesat and Empire Cinemas, William Grant & Sons drinks brands Disaronno and Sailor Jerry, and bar group Dirty Martini. It recently relaunched the new website for the Beano comic.

The agency was formerly known as Henry's House after founder Julian Henry, who now works for XIX Entertainment. When he left in 2009 it became House PR, led by MD Ginny Paton.

Paton remains MD of House PR, with Charlotte Brooks staying as board director. W founder and CEO Warren Johnson joins the House board as chairman.

W said the acquisition will allow House to operate internationally through W's hubs in Singapore and Amsterdam, where it opened its new office last month. The agency said Singapore is trading 150 per cent ahead of target after 16 months.

Revenue of the enlarged group has not been disclosed, although total headcount is 85. W reported revenue of £4.1m in 2015, an increase of 20 per cent in one year, according to PRWeek’s Top 150 Consultancies report.

W said there were no client conflicts as a result of the acquisition.

PRWeek reported in August that W and House PR were in talks about a possible acquisition.

Johnson said: "Having already proven our mettle internationally, we felt the time was right to supercharge W’s growth in the UK through a strategic acquisition. From our first meetings with Ginny and her team, it was clear that there was an unbeatable synergy between W and House, both in terms of clients and culture, which made the agency a clear choice for us. We foresee genuinely exciting times ahead and envisage dramatic growth together."

Paton said: "We’d reached a natural point to take stock and assess how to take House to the next level. It made total sense to partner with a bigger agency that will allow us to take a step up in scale. W has got both a fantastic track record and proven appetite for growth – both of which were factors that were very important to us. Having access to W’s senior team will be invaluable as we enter an exhilarating new era for House PR."

There were no redundancies as part of the acquisition, W stated.

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