PubliGroupe looks to divest in US, EPB braces for change

WASHINGTON: PR staff at the Earle Palmer Brown (EPB) offices in New York and Bethesda, MD, face pending changes as its European parent company, PubliGroupe, moves to divest itself of its North American marketing operations.

WASHINGTON: PR staff at the Earle Palmer Brown (EPB) offices in New York and Bethesda, MD, face pending changes as its European parent company, PubliGroupe, moves to divest itself of its North American marketing operations.

About 30 PR employees will be affected by the change.

PubliGroupe's decision results from business setbacks that "plunged PubliGroupe into a severe deficit situation in 2001, stated the firm.

Specifically, the Swiss company said its acquisition in December 2000 of majority ownership of Panoramic Communications "proved a failure. The sudden cyclical downturn in the US in the first quarter of 2001 put some Panoramic companies in difficulty. The events of September 11 brought a further fall in income and necessitated still more drastic measures."

The PubliGroupe statement added that it "will be making no further investments in Panoramic and that any of its corporate entities that may contribute to "losses or risks will disappear in 2002."

Panoramic was notified that "it must find other investors to assure its development if (PubliGroupe's) financing proved inadequate or put in hand a divestment program."

One of Panoramic's strongest assets is 50-year-old EPB, which has about 180 employees in Philadelphia, New York, and Bethesda.

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