ST. LOUIS: Independent agencies watch out. John Graham is once again getting ready to take out his checkbook.
ST. LOUIS: Independent agencies watch out. John Graham is once
again getting ready to take out his checkbook.
The Fleishman-Hillard chairman has told PRWeek that he expects to
announce two more acquisitions before the end of this year, one in the
US and one in the UK. While Graham would not discuss any details about
the size or specialty of the planned acquisition targets, he expressed
confidence that the deals are close enough to being consummated that
they will be formally announced before the clock strikes midnight on New
’Nothing’s definite, but you can expect to be hearing from us,’ Graham
Any acquisitions would add further luster to a year which saw Graham
embark on a major-league buying binge. In April, Fleishman purchased
Watt, Roop & Co., the third-largest PR firm in Cleveland (PRWeek, April
26), while the agency bought the London-based CPR Worldwide in October
(PRWeek, Oct. 18). Other 1999 acquisitions included Meltzer & Martin
(Dallas) and Upstart Communications (Emoryville, CA).
Despite persistent rumors that Fleishman is hoping to up its public
affairs and healthcare portfolios, it is unclear what type of agency the
company is after. Graham specifically ruled out the entertainment PR
sector, despite his pursuit earlier this year of celebrity shop
That agency was sold to Ogilvy in October for a rumored dollars 12
The reason it is so difficult to get a grip on Fleishman’s plans is
Graham’s stated preference to choose possible takeover targets based on
the quality of their people, rather than on specialty or geographical
location. Continued growth and acquisitions, Graham believes, keeps good
people within the Fleishman family. ’People want to be part of a growing
organization,’ he said.
Graham also revealed that Fleishman will achieve its stated goal of
generating dollars 200 million in fee income this year. The company will
realize 23% organic growth and total growth of 26% when acquisitions are
figured into the mix.
While Graham’s revenue goal for 2000 is a lofty dollars 265 million, he
said that planned acquisitions in Europe and Australia next year will
help the firm attain that figure.