The takeover by Martin Sorrell’s WPP of US marketing services group
Young and Rubicam will leave both companies’ global PR networks intact,
senior industry sources said this week.
The WPP/Y&R deal, valuing the New York concern at more than three
billion pounds, will create the world’s biggest group in its sector. It
will combine under one holding company Hill and Knowlton,
Burson-Marsteller, Ogilvy PR and Cohn and Wolfe.
The deal emerged after an attempt by French firm Publicis to buy Y&R
foundered when Y&R client Ford voiced concerns over the fact that
Publicis works for major Ford rival Renault.
Industry sources confirmed that agreement was reached in principle last
Sunday with clients being consulted and informed throughout this
The deal is subject to a period of due diligence which may take several
Senior PR figures predicted that all major agencies in the new group
will remain distinct. H&K chairman David McLaren said: ’WPP has a long
track record of running competing networks as separate agencies without
problems of client conflicts.’
Donna Zurcher, MD of Ogilvy in the UK, said: ’We have not been led to
believe there would be any brand mergers within the new group.’
P Hill and Knowlton has retained its high-fee GE Capital account, two
months after the work was retendered. H&K beat off competition from
Shandwick, Ogilvy and GCI.