WASHINGTON, DC: Porter Novelli has acquired Goddard Claussen (GC), an agency once labeled by Business Week as 'one of the most sought-after guns-for-hire' in the public affairs arena.
The Malibu, CA-based firm, which also specializes in advocacy communications, will be operated separately as Goddard Claussen Porter Novelli.
PN CEO Bob Drucken-miller said that the two firms often found themselves competing as friendly rivals for accounts. 'We figured we were better off together,' he explained. Charles Greener, executive VP and GM of PN's Washington office, stressed that the firms 'will look for opportunities to collaborate.'
The two firms clearly complement each other in terms of expertise. Healthcare has traditionally been a strong point for PN. GC, on the other hand, has worked on healthcare issues, but has also carved out niches in the environmental and energy sectors, with clients such as the Chemical Manufacturers Association and the Nuclear Energy Institute.
PN's top executives contend that the acquisition will bolster the agency's presence on the West Coast, particularly in the crowded California public affairs scene. Druckenmiller emphasized the importance of this: 'The issues that come up in public policy are likely to begin in California and be tested there. It's a bellweather.'
The acquisition will also bolster PN's existing strength in producing PR and advertising materials. Druckenmiller expressed satisfaction with PN's capabilities in this area, but said having GC on its side 'will only strengthen our hand.'
The newly merged firms are already collaborating on an effort for the insurance industry and have just filed a joint proposal with the office of California's Education Secretary to promote reading.
Both firms demonstrated steady growth in 1998.