THE TOP EUROPEAN PR CONSULTANCIES 2001: Owned Groups - Bullish prospects. Transnational tie-ins and acquisitions meant agency groups increased their foothold on the Continent and led to the further development of real pan-European PR structures

Anyone believing 1999's acquisitiveness on the part of US-based PR

agencies to be a one-off was forced to think again as the march of

American groups keen to establish or strengthen footholds in Europe


In June last year, Edelman bought Swedish technology specialist

Infokraft, followed by an agency in Munich, and Chicago-based

Golin/Harris International snapped up Ludgate's London and Frankfurt

offices. Cohn & Wolfe acquired a business in France in October to beef

up its corporate reputation arm.

Hill & Knowlton bought PA and environmental agency Gaia in Rome and

Weber Shandwick becameItaly's second largest agency by acquiring

Massmedia and Bridge Editore in Milan. At the beginning of 2001, Incepta

bought consumer specialist The Red Consultancy and Fleishman-Hillard

acquired Herald Communications, providing it with offices in Munich,

Prague, Milan and Paris.

US companies were not put off by the fag-end of the boom, and

subsequent 'dot.bomb'in Europe - not least because the economic outlook

in most European nations was rosier than on the domestic front. James

Maxwell became MD of Ketchum Europe in October: 'The bubble was

good while it lasted, but we were lucky we took a global strategic

decision only to work for majorly backed clients. We were generally paid

up front,' he says. The PR map shifted during 2000, according to

Manning Selvage &Lee finance director Tim Morley, who says this has

worked to the advantage of agencies which insulated themselves against

potential failures by choosing clients carefully. 'Early on (in 2000),

the dot.coms were coming out, saying: "We're going to do Europe now".

The number of requests dried up as the year went on but those that are

still there have upped the brief,' he says.

The explosion in 1999 was largely responsible for what PRWeek

identified as the kick-off for truly pan-European PR. In 2000 that

continued, with agencies reporting a general bullishness about prospects

for growth in several geographical regions of the European PR market,

combined with client demand for specialisation in areas such as

technology and healthcare.

While GCI took advantage of a once in a generation news event - winning

work in nine countries for the British Tourist Authority on the

foot-and-mouth crisis - it had its eye firmly on the healthcare horizon,

extending its own offering by buying Maureen Cropper Healthcare.

Horst Muther joined from Burson-Marsteller to be managing partner of GCI

Healthcare, based in Hamburg, while Alan Archer came from gsk to be

European practice head. Other agencies targeted healthcare too, Ketchum

winning pan-European work with Roche and AstraZeneca, driven from London

by David Gallagher, head of the European practice. Mark Chataway become

Edelman's healthcare (Europe) president, joining from Hill &


H&K itself, in addition to reorganising into four areas - UK,

continental western, Nordic and eastern, and southern Europe - also

integrated Frankfurt-based technology specialist Hillerwuest into the

network in March 2000.

Ketchum signed an affiliate agreement with Numemburg tech agency

Kaltwasser while Mick Jackson joined from Ogilvy in early 2001 as

director of business development for new technology in Europe.

There is a widespread belief among agencies in the capacity for growth

during the next five years. MS&L said its merger in January 2000 with

Leo Burnett has given it previously untapped European resources to work

with. A notable UK entrant to the PRWeek European tables this year is

Chime Communications, whose acquisition of Harvard in March 2000 gives

it offices in France and Germany - where chairman Tim Bell sees plenty

of opportunity, particularly in financial services.

Ketchum opened a Hamburg office at the end of 2000, supporting James

Maxwell's view that 'the German PR market has hardly come out of its

infancy given the size of the economy and strength of business,

especially when set against the maturity of markets such as the UK and

US. And France, Italy and Spain are growing very fast as well.' Ketchum

also acquired a majority stake in its Spanish affiliate, while Cohn &

Wolfe opened a Spanish office under Rose de la Pascona, formerly of

Shandwick. H&K set up a company, Digital PR, in Milan.

Weber Shandwick remained upbeat about its prospects in Germany,France,

Spain and Belgium. 'Consider their (lack of) maturity. PR there is

experiencing something (the UK) recognised 15 to 20 years ago with

privatisation, deregulation and M&A,' says Lutz Meyer, WSW chief

executive (Europe).

It is not a time of growth for everyone, however. B-M is one agency for

whom 2000 saw little change in Europe, although Rainer Westermann joined

from F-H at the end of 2000 to run the German operation.

CEO Allan Biggar admitted the network has been static for the last

couple of years, although it won work with venture capitalist 3i and

Palm Pilot manufacturer 3com.'The market is still moving to more project

work than longer-term retainer stuff,' he observes.

Despite general optimism, not everyone is convinced that the economic

outlook is entirely free of stormclouds. GCI chief executive Adrian

Wheeler warns that optimism must be tempered: 'Technology corporations

and financial institutions are under pressure at the moment. That has a

damaging effect and I can't really see where it ends.' Moreover, he

argues, the rounds of acquisition over the last two years have led to a

fundamental shift in the way in which PR agencies present themselves to

clients: 'There has been a real acceleration in the building of giant PR

groups over the last 18 months and that unintentionally alters the

dynamics of the business.'

And that growth, driven by the European aspirations of US marketing

services groups, shows little sign of abating.


Rank Company Fee income (pounds) Growth Staff

2000 2000 1999 % 2000

1 Euro RSCG 57,893,000 46,253,000 25 668

2 Chime Communications 57,080,000 34,390,000 66 676

3 Weber Shandwick 53,116,000 43,208,000 23 792

4 Hill & Knowlton 51,573,000 40,591,000 27 762

5 Burson-Marsteller 46,426,000 42,083,000 10 472

6 Incepta 46,205,740 36,508,847 27 469

7 GCI/APCO Europe 37,690,000 29,760,000 27 716

8 Porter Novelli

International(1) 36,984,147 55,969,971 -34 -

9 Edelman PR Worldwide 27,435,306 21,674,271 27 425

10 BSMG Worldwide 26,332,687 14,638,178 80 352

11 Ketchum** 16,258,699 13,466,667 272

12 Fleishman-Hillard** 15,737,000 11,097,000 42 243

13 Trimedia International** 15,713,289 10,679,000 47 190

14 Kreab** 15,007,000 12,130,000 24 124

15 Cohn & Wolfe 13,787,069 10,201,087 35 187

16 Ogilvy** 13,672,692 12,525,000 9 261

17 Grayling Group 12,682,953 11,278,100 12 163

18 Manning Selvage & Lee 11,452,000 9,620,000 19 197

19 Text 100 10,765,919 6,607,834 63 225

20 Golin/Harris 10,224,000 2,707,000 278 142

21 Barabino & Partners 7,457,200 5,364,860 39 87

22 GPC 7,329,728 6,183,521 19 89

23 JKL Intressenter(2)** 5,718,000 5,343,000 7 73

24 Herald Communications 5,650,467 3,750,171 51 115

25 AxiCom 5,569,914 2,975,101 87 63

Rank Company Clients Assoc. Location


2000 2000 2000

1 Euro RSCG 953 - London/R'dam

2 Chime Communications 638 - London

3 Weber Shandwick 1425 13,665,000 London

4 Hill & Knowlton 370 - London

5 Burson-Marsteller - - London

6 Incepta 645 - London

7 GCI/APCO Europe 519 1,813,000 London

8 Porter Novelli

International(1) - 3,388,398 Oxford

9 Edelman PR Worldwide 732 - London

10 BSMG Worldwide 555 - London

11 Ketchum** 428 2,270,690 London

12 Fleishman-Hillard** 440 - London

13 Trimedia International** 290 - Geneva

14 Kreab** - 491,000 Stockholm

15 Cohn & Wolfe 243 - London

16 Ogilvy** 345 - New York

17 Grayling Group 201 - London

18 Manning Selvage & Lee 253 402,000 London

19 Text 100 369 - London

20 Golin/Harris 143 - London

21 Barabino & Partners 142 - Milan

22 GPC 223 - Brussels/London

23 JKL Intressenter(2)** - 2,997,000 Stockholm

24 Herald Communications 101 - London

25 AxiCom 52 - London

All figures relate to the year ended December 2000. Fee income = PR fees


(1) Porter Novelli figures no longer include Kohtes Klaves in 2000 due

to changes in group structure

(2) JKL Intressenter figures to year end June 2000

** 1999 fee income as submitted for 2000 European Consultancies tables

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