FD said the move would take the form of a 'bolt-on' acquisition - similar to the agency's purchase of property firm Tamesis two years ago (PRWeek, 21 January, 2005). Tamesis eventually became FD Tamesis, and Santé is expected to make the same change after a transition period.
Santé was founded in 1995 by Liz Shanahan who will take the title of MD at FD. She brings with her around 20 staff from the specialist healthcare agency.
FD chairman Charles Watson said: 'Healthcare is a critical industry segment.
We already have a team of over thirty working on healthcare-related business.' In the life sciences arena, FD already works with Shire, Sanofi Pasteur MSD and Norvatis. 'We've been talking with Santé for around a year, and looking around the industry we thought they were the best fit,' said Watson.
Santé brings with it a client list including Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.
Santé will aid FD's international expansion of its healthcare offering.
Shanahan said: 'The combination will help broaden our offer to a wider range of solutions to our clients needs.' In 2005, FD also acquired public affairs shop LLM Communications and was subsequently bought itself by US firm FTI Consulting for £139m (PRWeek, 16 September, 2006).
Earlier this year Daily Telegraph medical editor Celia Hall joined Santé in a newly created role as director of media strategy (PRWeek, 2 February).