AUSTIN, TX: GCI Group last week acquired Read-Poland Associates,
Texas' oldest PR and public affairs firm, for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition gives GCI a Texas presence for the first time and boosts
its public affairs, crisis communications, technology and energy
Before inking the deal, R-P joined with GCI to pitch the Industrial
Development Board for Northern Ireland. And R-P's Dallas office ran a
regional program for GCI's new federal Health Care Financing
Administration (Medicare) job.
The newly merged agency, which will be known as GCI Read-Poland, was
ultimately awarded both accounts, reportedly worth seven figures
The merger was announced by R-P chairman and founder Julian Read during
his firm's 50th anniversary reception in Austin last Monday. Read and
Jeff Hunt, R-P president and CEO, will retain their titles in the new
The deal hinged on Hunt, an R-P protege, who came home to Austin in
December from London. GCI Group president and CEO Bob Feldman had hired
Hunt as an intern at Burson-Marsteller in 1984.
'For the three of us (Read, Hunt and Feldman) and our respective firms
to come together is a dream come true,' Feldman told the crowd of Texas
VIPs assembled for the anniversary gathering. Feldman also stressed the
value of Hunt's international experience in Europe, Asia and South
Neither firm would discuss acquisition terms, although GCI is known for
cash transactions as opposed to equity swaps.
R-P posted dollars 2.2 million in revenue last year and employs 23 in
Austin, Dallas, Houston and Washington, DC. Moves made under Hunt
include the recent creation of a technology practice led by former
Alexander Ogilvy executive Don Bartholomew. Feldman said GCI plans to
expand R-P's staff and client portfolio while striving to maintain the
R-P clients include Pulse, MGM Mirage, Bell Helicopter Textron and the
Association of Tennis Professionals Tour.
R-P's golden anniversary gathering was emceed by former congressman Tom
Loeffler and included tributes by former US House speaker Jim Wright,
and George Christian, press secretary for former president Lyndon
Johnson. Harold Burson and former Texas governor Ann Richards sent
videotaped greetings, and R-P executives gave their New York partners
black cowboy boots and Texas flags.