Global PR behemoth is created in IPG deal

The Interpublic Group is to merge its flagship PR networks Weber

Shandwick Worldwide (WSW) and BSMG Worldwide, creating the world's

largest PR firm taking fees of more than pounds 350m.

IPG's deal - announced to the New York Stock Exchange this week - ends

speculation after IPG acquired BSMG parent company True North earlier

this month.

The new entity formed by the merger will dwarf all other PR networks,

both in revenue and in global reach.

But the decision signals the end of the BSMG brand, which will

officially roll into WSW from October as one mammoth PR entity.

BSMG Europe chairman Tim Sutton said: 'We recognised that there were

gaps in our offering and even though we have come a long way in a short

time we can't argue that we have the brand equity WSW has.'

The newly-merged company will be headed by BSMG CEO Harris Diamond, who

becomes CEO, alongside BSMG chairman Jack Leslie, appointed


Former WSW CEO Larry Weber will retain responsibility for IPG's Allied

Communication Group as CEO and chairman.

Decisions have not been made on who will lead the new entity in the UK

and Europe or which roles Sutton and WSW Europe CEO Lutz Meyer will


It is expected announcements will be made on these matters in


Industry rumours had suggested IPG is planning to merge its UK financial

PR operations. A deal is thought to have been discussed between BSMG's

Square Mile and WSW's beleaguered financial practice, which recently

lost CEO Charles Lankester (PRWeek, 6 July).

The deal, said to have been discussed at senior level in all three

companies, would have involved the financial arm of Golin/Harris Ludgate

and would have created a player in the UK PR market.

Leader, p10.

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