Huntsworth in swoop for three PR agencies

Huntsworth is to buy Grayling, Hudson Sandler and continental PR network Trimedia in an audacious acquisition hat-trick set to take the group’s annual fee income above £50m.

The deals, unveiled by CEO Lord Chadlington, will see Huntsworth snap up, in Trimedia, the largest independent PR network on the continent. It is also significantly bolstering its presence in the financial and lobbying spheres,via HS and Grayling, respectively.

Grayling Political Strategy and Grayling PR, plus an events arm, are to be bought from marketing services group Havas for £10m, with £6m in cash and £4m in shares.

HS has also been acquired, with Huntsworth buying 60 per cent of the Havas firm for £1.14m in cash; Huntsworth may buy the remaining shares from HS’s management in three years. The management deal has a maximum consideration of £5m.

Huntsworth is to pay an initial £3m in cash and shares for Trimedia, with a total maximum consideration of £16.9m after three years.

Trimedia has operations in France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria, with 175 staff and clients such as McDonald’s and Novartis.

Huntsworth’s hatch-group brand will become Trimedia UK, with Trimedia CEO Michel Gutknecht becoming group executive chairman. Hatch-group chief executive Michael Murphy will become Trimedia chief executive.

Huntsworth’s 2003 results, out this week, saw a like-for-like revenue fall of 1.2 per cent compared with 2002. Trading profits rose from £1.28m to £2.27m.

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