McCann in talks to acquire UK consultancy

US ad agency McCann-Erickson’s hunt for UK acquisitions stepped up a gear this week as it emerged it has had exploratory talks with top ten PR agency Charles Barker.

US ad agency McCann-Erickson’s hunt for UK acquisitions stepped up

a gear this week as it emerged it has had exploratory talks with top ten

PR agency Charles Barker.



Larry Weber, chairman of the advertising giant’s PR arm the Weber Group,

said he couldn’t comment at the moment but added: ’We are talking to a

lot of important companies in the UK. Charles Barker may be one of

them.’



Weber has pledged to build McCann-Erickson a top five worldwide network

by the year 2001. His plan is to dominate each PR sector and the key

geographical areas of the US, UK, Germany, France, Australia, Japan and

Latin America.



Last month it acquired the financial and corporate specialist Ludgate

and now has its eye on hi-tech, public affairs, publicity, consumer and

healthcare.



However, industry insiders played down the likelihood of a deal with

Charles Barker, which recorded a fee income for the year ending July

1996 of pounds 5.85 million.



Last year it moved into the healthcare sector with the acquisition of

OTC specialist Concept and set up a business and technology

division.



The company also has a style and youth division called SLAM.



Agency chief executive Tim Sutton said last month that the firm has

received a ’number of approaches’ from interested buyers. (PR Week, 14

March).



Sutton said this week he had ’nothing to add’.



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