Rome: Hill & Knowlton has acquired Gaia, the Italian PR and public affairs consultancy known as the country's leading environmental communications firm.
The deal, for an undisclosed sum, sees the agency rename itself H&K Gaia. It makes H&K the largest agency in Italy, with more than 65 staff and revenues of almost pounds 7m. It brings the number of H&K offices around the world to 70.
The senior management of the Italian agency are president Antonio Ferro, CEO Carlo Degano and vice-president Ilaria Catastini. The board of H&K Gaia will now consist of this trio, together with Cesare Valli, president and CEO of H&K Italy and Sandro Pello, the agency's existing vice-president.
Paul Taaffe, H&K international president, said: 'Italy continues to be a significant part of H&K's plans. Gaia is an exceptional group of people who we see as partners in Europe, particularly in environmental affairs.'
H&K has had a presence in Italy since 1963. Last year it bought an agency called SPC and renamed it Carl Boyer and Associates as a secondary H&K brand. Its major client is BLU, the BT joint venture with Italy's leading telecoms firm.
Clients for the renamed H&K Gaia include the country's ministry of the environment and local industrial giants such as Cobat and API.