Interpublic Group buys up True North Communications

Interpublic Group and True North Communications have joined forces

in a deal that creates an organisation with UK PR income of more than

pounds 55m.

The pounds 1.3bn takeover means that New York-based IPG adds True

North's BSMG Worldwide PR network, which includes UK financial agency

Square Mile and public affairs consultancy GJW, to its existing PR

assets Webber Shandwick Worldwide, Golin/Harris and Carmichael Lynch

Spong in the US.

The deal consolidates the position of the newly-created group as the

third largest player in the UK PR market behind Omnicom and WPP, based

on figures from last year's PRWeek Top 150.

WSW chief executive officer and chairman Larry Weber said they aim to

continue building up the PR side of the business.

'My goal is to take over WPP and Omnicom on complete worldwide PR

holdings,' he said. 'We are working hard every day to lower our

dependence on advertising and this deal won't change our direction.

He added that it was too early to comment on whether any of the group's

UK PR firms would merge.

IPG chief executive John Dooner remains head of the group and True North

CEO David Bell will be named IPG vice-chairman.

The deal, expected to close in the summer, ends months of speculation

that Chicago-based True North was to be bought - recent rumours centred

on France's Havas Advertising.

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