CPN triumphant in UK bid for HP's business

The three-way agency tussle for Hewlett Packard's UK PR business has ended, with Countrywide Porter Novelli finally appointed across all business units.

HP declined to comment on the outcome of the pitch, but PRWeek has learned that CPN this week bagged all four business units in the UK, covering enterprise systems, personal systems, imaging and printing, and HP services.

It was originally rumoured that HP would split the work between the three globally preferred agencies - CPN, Hill & Knowlton and Burson-Marsteller - but sources suggest the computing giant wanted to simplify the UK structure with one agency.

H&K also confirmed this week it had picked up HP's PR work in Ireland and is launching an office in Dublin at the end of next month to service the account. Deputy chairman Andy Laurence said they had hired Kevin O'Byrne to lead the Dublin bureau. He joins from HP's outgoing incumbent agency Beattie Media.

HP UK head of comms Nicola Adamson said: 'It's a lengthy process and we're still working on a final decision.'

Decisions on worldwide regional and country-level pitches are expected imminently, with HP's Asia-Pacific PR chiefs due to make announcements within the next few weeks.

The second wave of pitches follows last year's six-month global review, which finished in October and saw HP assign B-M, H&K and CPN different business units.

H&K also won global corporate comms.

But regional and country level PR bosses are being given autonomy to choose between the three. Adamson admitted the system was 'confusing' but added: 'We've gone from having many agencies to a much more manageable number.'

Firefly Communications and Beattie - which worked with Compaq and HP respectively prior to last year's £13bn merger between the two computer giants - are currently working out their notice.

Leader, p8.

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