Murphy's hatch in deal to acquire UK PR arm of Connors

hatch-group has bought Connors Communications' UK arm to boost its tech offering.

The deal - which went through last week and had been two months in the planning - sees Connors' staff, clients and assets joining hatch. The Connors brand will continue to operate.

Despite the tech market remaining in the doldrums, hatch-group CEO Michael Murphy said he envisaged tech PR budgets 'building up again' over the next 12 to 24 months.

The staff at Connors' London office, led by Simon Hill and Elaine Marshall, now report to hatch board director Vikki Stace.

Connors has clients including search engine Google and digital music distribution company OD2.

Connors has around 35 staff in New York, where the company was founded by Connie Connors in 1985. The hatch deal has no direct effect on this office.

Murphy said further acquisitions could well be on the cards for hatch, citing the public affairs, healthcare and corporate markets as potentially the most lucrative.

He said he foresaw 'more consolidation' in the tech sector, but added that the financial and consumer markets were currently 'tough'.

hatch acquired tech, consumer, media and entertainment agency MacLaurin when it launched in June last year (PRWeek, 1 June 2001).

Last week, Claire Bithell joined Prospero Financial, hatch's IR and financial PR consultancy, as a consultant.

Bithell joined from financial PR firm Finsbury, where she was a senior account director. Before Finsbury she worked in the corporate finance department of Merrill Lynch.

Leader, p8.

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