Ketchum acquires Washington Group in dollars 15M deal

WASHINGTON: Ketchum's DC office concluded a year-long shopping expedition last week as it finalized a deal to acquire The Washington Group, a local lobbying and government relations shop with solid bipartisan credentials.

WASHINGTON: Ketchum's DC office concluded a year-long shopping expedition last week as it finalized a deal to acquire The Washington Group, a local lobbying and government relations shop with solid bipartisan credentials.

WASHINGTON: Ketchum's DC office concluded a year-long shopping expedition last week as it finalized a deal to acquire The Washington Group, a local lobbying and government relations shop with solid bipartisan credentials.

The deal is reported to be worth approximately dollars 15 million.

With its acquisition of The Washington Group, Ketchum will bring several powerful allies onto its team - but not under its roof. The hope is that the spatial separation will enforce a practical one as well.

'We would keep bringing lobbyists in here, and they would get sucked into doing PR,' said Ketchum partner Mark Schannon. The plan is to 'let them work their way.'

The Washington Group, founded in 1997, boasts 11 lobbyists. John Raffaelli, a founding partner, served for four years as counsel to Sen. Lloyd Bentsen; another founding member, John O'Hanlon, was national finance director and deputy manager for the Gephardt for Congress Committee; and Rita Lewis has worked for several Democratic senators, including minority leader Tom Daschle.

The Washington Group has two native Texans among its ranks, a fact that may prove significant given the new administration: Raffaelli, a Democrat, and Mark Schnabel, a Republican.

Access to high-level leadership - as well as compatibility of cultures - was what attracted Ketchum to the lobbying firm. 'The Washington Group has a special business model,' said Schannon. 'When they bring people in, they really make sure they get to talk to the leaders.'

According to PRWeek's 2000 agency rankings, Ketchum's DC office reported more than dollars 20 million in billings in 1999 and currently has a staff of 150. The Washington Group reported dollars 4.8 million in lobbying fees for 2000.





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