Cordiant axes BCI in PR brand overhaul

NEW YORK: UK-based advertising and PR firm holding company Cordiant is overhauling its PR brands by scrapping its beleaguered PR unit, Business Communications International (BCI). BCI had housed most of Cordiant's PR operations, including US-based firm Morgen-Walke and UK-based Financial Dynamics (FD).

NEW YORK: UK-based advertising and PR firm holding company Cordiant is overhauling its PR brands by scrapping its beleaguered PR unit, Business Communications International (BCI). BCI had housed most of Cordiant's PR operations, including US-based firm Morgen-Walke and UK-based Financial Dynamics (FD).

Morgen-Walke and FD will now be brought together under a new, yet-to-be named entity that will be headed up by FD chief Charles Watson. Cordiant expects to announce the rebranding sometime next month.

Although the two firms expect to work more closely, and may even share a name, FD and Morgen-Walke will keep separate P&L statements, said Watson.

The decision to eliminate BCI comes after a series of setbacks for the unit. The most recent occurred in January, when a spat between Cordiant execs and BCI chief Nick Miles led to Miles' acrimonious departure amid legal proceedings.

Cordiant originally formed BCI during its effort to acquire Abernathy MacGregor. It was designed to house the IR firm, and create an umbrella for its financial communications operations. But after losing Abernathy to Havas at the eleventh hour, Cordiant has struggled to make use of the entity.

The rebranding will be just the latest upheaval at Morgen-Walke, which has changed owners twice since the start of 2000. Many of Morgen-Walke's top personnel, including its two founders, exited the firm after its initial parent company, Lighthouse Group, was acquired by Cordiant in June of 2000.

Cordiant's poor performance over the past year - it issued three profit warnings in four months, slashed 1,000 jobs, and lost some key business - has made it ripe for a takeover. However, widespread media rumors early last week that Havas had made a $1 billion bid for the group were denied by both parties.

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