Omnicom eyes up F-H with a view to purchase

US-owned PR agency Fleishman-Hillard is the latest target of the highly acquisitive Omnicom group, the world’s second largest supplier of marketing services, according to reports in the US.

US-owned PR agency Fleishman-Hillard is the latest target of the

highly acquisitive Omnicom group, the world’s second largest supplier of

marketing services, according to reports in the US.



Omnicom, which already has a strong portfolio of PR agencies, has been

talking to Fleishman-Hillard since late last year, according to US

magazine Advertising Age.



The process began last spring when Fleishman-Hillard and its investment

banker Cari Capital considered a public offering of stock. Having

abandoned this plan, Cari Capital approached the world’s three largest

agency holding companies about a sale.



It is believed that the initial asking price of dollars 100 million

(pounds 62.5 million) scared off world number one WPP, as well as

Interpublic Group. However, talks with Omnicom continue and the two

parties are thought to be half-way towards a deal.



Omnicom, the parent of advertising agencies BBDO, TBWA and DDB Needham,

owns Countrywide Porter Novelli, financial PR network Gavin Anderson and

lobbyist Market Access International.



In January 1996 it bought Ketchum, which in turn bought Scope

Communications Group last December. In March 1996 it purchased a 20 per

cent stake in UK technology specialist A-Plus and in September bought UK

organisational communications specialist Smythe Dorward Lambert .



Fleishman-Hillard CEO John Graham was not available for comment and

Omnicom Diversified Agency Services’ president Michael Burkin refused to

comment when PR Week went to press.



- It has been reported in the US that Burson-Marsteller has also

recently considered a sale but parent company Young and Rubicam did not

want to lose its ability to serve clients across different marketing

disciplines.



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