W Communications buys Newcastle's Glue PR as 'springboard' for regional focus

London-based W Communications has bought Newcastle's Glue PR, which will be rebranded as W North.

Acquisition: Glue PR's Christian Cerisola (left) with Richard Tompkins of W
Acquisition: Glue PR's Christian Cerisola (left) with Richard Tompkins of W

It’s the latest move in W's expansion drive, following its acquisition of House PR last year and recent openings in Singapore and Amsterdam.

W said the latest acquisition was "specifically designed to provide clients with a view outside of the London bubble". It will also provide a "springboard" for W’s regional focus, the agency stated, with the office "covering everywhere from Scotland and the Borders to Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle itself and beyond".

W North will open on 3 April, headed by Glue PR founder Christian Cerisola, who previously worked alongside W founder and CEO Warren Johnson at Freuds.

The Newcastle office currently employs three people, but Johnson said they were "hoping to scale up substantially" in the coming weeks and months. According to its website, Glue clients include Euro Hostels, housing association Home Group, and karting circuit KNE.

Details of the transaction, including the sale price, were not disclosed.

Johnson said: "There are real differences in culture, interests and consumer habits across the UK, which, if anything, are growing even more distinct. Not just from north to south, but city to city, town to town. It's incredibly important for agencies not to get stuck in the London mindset and evolve a more locally responsive approach to communications – not just for themselves, but for the clients they represent.

"This venture is designed to offer our current and future clients a different outlook on their communications challenges and meet the growing appetite for campaign activation within other cities in the UK."

W MD Richard Tompkins, who will work closely with Cerisola, said: "We spent a lot of time looking at different cities and towns across the North of England and into Scotland, but settled on Newcastle because of its unique blend of strong culture, burgeoning creativity, connectivity to both the south and Scotland, and, most importantly, the quality of talent available."

Catherine Walker, inward investment director at Invest Newcastle, is quoted in the statement from W saying: "For a global organisation such as W Communications to look at Newcastle, demonstrates not only the strong creative and tech sector we have, but highlights organisations' growing appetite to expand into the UK regions. We have the fastest growing creative and tech sector outside of London and our businesses are really making noise across the UK."

Click here to read PRWeek’s interview with Johnson and House PR MD Ginny Paton from earlier this year, where Johnson discusses his ambition, global expansion, the challenge for small PR shops and the demise of traditional advertising.


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