Freshwater buys another PR shop

Freshwater has acquired its third company since November with the £1m purchase of a top Welsh PR shop.

Freshwater has bought Merlin Marketing and PR, a Cardiff agency whose clients include HBOS Cards and Penderyn Welsh Whisky. Merlin founder Bruce Morris, who started it as a TV production business in 1985, will run the newly merged agency. Freshwater now has a staff of 139 in ten offices across the UK and in Brussels.

Freshwater UK CEO ­Steve Howell said the Merlin deal is part of the AIM-listed group's strategy of building up regional networks.

‘The acquisition significantly enhances our existing graphic design, digital media and marketing offering,' added Howell.

Freshwater paid £1m in cash, shares and future pro­fits for Merlin. Last year, it bought Leeds agency Lynx (PRWeek, 8 ­November 2007) and paid £2.24m for public affairs firm Waterfront (PRWeek, 4 ­December 2007).

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