WALTHAM, MA: Schwartz Communications has formed a strategic alliance with London-based agency AxiCom.The firms plan to offer computing and medical technology companies integrated PR programs in the US and Europe. Schwartz had been considering several options for expanding its European presence, either through an acquisition or by opening a European office. But the firm ultimately concluded it needed to tap into a wider European entity. "With European integration, it's important to have a presence across Europe, explained CEO Steve Schwartz. AxiCom, which works with clients such as Citrix Systems, has offices in Munich, Paris, Stockholm, Milan, Madrid, and The Hague. "We have worked with AxiCom in the past on an ad hoc basis, and saw many similarities between our philosophies, approaches and cultures, he said. He added that the deal with AxiCom will offer a "sleeker alternative for Schwartz's US clients, who are increasingly seeking unified positioning and messaging around the globe. Schwartz would not disclose marketing plans for the alliance. David Close, EVP at Schwartz, will manage the relationship with AxiCom. The alliance with Schwartz is not an exclusive one, as the firm has had a similar agreement with Sterling Communications for the past three years.