INTERNATIONAL: Edelman buys Headline and boosts its Atlanta offering

ATLANTA: Edelman PR Worldwide has bought The Headline Group in Atlanta, boosting its office into a top-five player in the market with combined fees of nearly £3.4m.

The outpost will be further strengthened by the relocation of the firm's corporate reputation management practice to the Atlanta office, headed by general manager Bob Kornecki, whose appointment to lead the global practice coincides with the acquisition announcement.

Headline Group founder Claudia Gaines Patton - who launched the agency 20 years ago - becomes general manager of the Atlanta office.

On the deal, she said: 'We both have heritages of consumer marketing, and we're both very entrepreneurial.'

The Headline Group ranks eighth in the Atlanta market, according to the PRWeek US/Council of PR Firms 2002 league tables.

Kornecki said the current market conditions helped make the deal possible: 'We could not have made this move in the 1990s - the size of the deal made it lucrative.'

'It shows the virtue of being a private company in a downturn,' he added.

President of Edelman's eastern division Matt Harrington said the firm intends to develop its Southeast network with Atlanta as the hub, employing a model he used to develop the Western market.

With this acquisition, Edelman strengthens its position with client Southern Company and gains The Attorneys Title Insurance Fund, Char-Broil Grill, Head, and Tiffany & Company, among other clients.

Edelman already worked with Atlanta-based clients The Home Depot, Georgia-Pacific and UPS prior to the deal.

The combined Atlanta offering will be staffed by a 40-strong team.

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