PARIS: Publicis, the French advertising and communications group,
is stepping up its crisis management activities.
The company, famous for advertising and latterly for PR, has acquired US
crisis communications agency Winner and Associates.
Under the deal announced late last month Winner, founded by president
and chief executive Chuck Winner, will continue to trade as Winner and
Associates despite the sale. The agency’s 43 staff, spread between Los
Angeles and the head office in Washington, DC and overseen by executive
vice-president Les Francis, are thought to be unaffected by the
Jean-Yves Naouri, president of Publicis Consultants, said that Winner
contacted the French agency three years ago for assistance with a client
in need of European support.
The arrangement was a success, and Publicis made a bid for Winner which
was accepted and which finally went through last month. Winner is
understood to have received offers from other global communications
groups, but decided on the basis of the earlier collaboration to join
forces with Publicis.
Naouri would not reveal the price his company had paid for Winner and
Winner - whose agency took in fees of almost pounds 5 million in 1999 -
counts handling the fallout from the Three Mile Island nuclear incident
in the early-1970s and the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle at
Cape Canaveral in 1986 among his work.
According to Naouri, Publicis is planning to expand its PR offering into
the key New York market, as well as to Montreal, Toronto and Latin
Naouri claims to be preparing for further launches in Asia.