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
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.