Interest gathers in sale of Agnew Carter McCarthy

BOSTON: Generalist PR firm Agnew Carter McCarthy (ACM) has become a coveted pawn in the acquisition game.

BOSTON: Generalist PR firm Agnew Carter McCarthy (ACM) has become a coveted pawn in the acquisition game.

The Boston-based agency is rumored to have received at least one offer from a New York-based firm seeking a greater New England presence, and other offers are likely on the way.

ACM Partner Lew Carter admitted that the agency has had discussions with three international organizations within the past year, but downplayed the possibility that an acquisition could be imminent.

'There's consolidation in the industry,' said Carter. 'Most agencies are receiving some level of attention.'

Carter said the agency is not aggressively marketing itself, but admitted 'globalization of business is the biggest factor that would make an offer attractive.'

While ACM is currently a member of Pinnacle Worldwide, Carter explained that the agency would like to strengthen its global presence beyond that. He also said that in considering a possible acquisition, ACM would want to ensure that its culture is not compromised.

A number of international firms offer a range of services similar to ACM's and are currently without a Boston presence, including Ruder Finn, Cohn & Wolfe, and Rowland Worldwide. However, Ruder Finn was the only one of the three who discussed its interest in entering the Boston market.

'We are talking to a number of firms in Boston, and are exploring the possibility of making an acquisition,' said Peter Finn, chairman of the agency's executive committee. However, he added that he was unsure if the company is eyeing ACM in particular.

With 1998 income of dollars 3,656,451, ACM makes a small but focused target for a potential suitor looking to gain a Boston foothold. The agency serves clients such as Gorton's, Hasbro Interactive, Ocean Spray, and Ronzoni.

The ACM agency was founded 20 years ago.

- Boston feature, p17.

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