Public affairs consultancy GJW is in talks about a possible
acquisition by Lighthouse, the holding company which last year bought
The process is understood to be at an early stage, with no agreement yet
on what form the deal might take and what price might be paid. However a
senior source at GJW told PR Week that ’there are discussions going on
with Lighthouse and others ... there will be changes sooner or
Both Julian Hanson-Smith, chief UK operating officer for Lighthouse, and
Amy LaBan, the firm’s Chicago-based vice-president for strategic
relations, refused to confirm rumours that the company’s three largest
shareholders, chairman Wilf Weeks, chief executive Andrew Gifford, and
finance director Nigel Clarke were about to sell.
Clarke, who refused to deny talks had taken place, said: ’We are the
largest independent in London. People have always come to talk to
That has always been the case.’ PR Week understands the bidding for GJW
Holdings - which includes its Brussels operation and a Hungarian firm -
included Shandwick’s public affairs arm at an earlier stage.
The agency was founded in 1980 by Gifford, Weeks and a third partner,
Jenny Jeger. The three sold their holdings to the Lowe group in 1987,
but bought it back in 1993.
Wilf Weeks this week denied industry rumours that he wished to leave the
agency and was therefore keen to sell his quarter share in GJW.
An acquisition by Lighthouse would extend the links GJW has with
Financial Dynamics, first established when the two jointly set up Matrix
Public Affairs in 1992.
Apart from Financial Dynamics last year, Lighthouse Holdings, only
communications company acquisition since it was founded in 1998, was New
York’s largest independent PR firm Morgan Walke Associates.