IR group kicks off affiliate in Oregon

PORTLAND, OR: Hoping to take advantage of surging IPO and VC investment activity in the Pacific Northwest, IR consultancy Pondel/Wilkinson Group has launched Pondel/Wilkinson Parham, a regional affiliate based in Portland.

PORTLAND, OR: Hoping to take advantage of surging IPO and VC investment activity in the Pacific Northwest, IR consultancy Pondel/Wilkinson Group has launched Pondel/Wilkinson Parham, a regional affiliate based in Portland.

PORTLAND, OR: Hoping to take advantage of surging IPO and VC

investment activity in the Pacific Northwest, IR consultancy

Pondel/Wilkinson Group has launched Pondel/Wilkinson Parham, a regional

affiliate based in Portland.



The move makes Pondel the latest firm to attempt to take advantage of

what is clearly a hot region. The agency comes well armed for battle:

former Nike IR director Ronald Parham will serve as managing director of

the new unit.



While the region boasts a number of large-scale corporations in addition

to Nike, the IR growth is coming from other sectors, according to

National Investor Relations Institute president and CEO Louis

Thompson.



’The real opportunity is in the hi-tech and biotech companies springing

up on the small- and mid-cap side,’ he explained. ’They don’t have

full-time IR people and are in dire need of IR consulting services.’



Last year was a banner year for IPO activity in the Pacific Northwest,

with a record 21 IPOs filed in Washington state alone. Meanwhile, not

only are more companies sprouting up in the area every month, but the

established ones are expanding rapidly. Jon Kuchin, tax partner at the

Seattle office of PricewaterhouseCoopers, said the amount of money

invested in Northwest companies jumped 220% between 1998 and 1999,

growing from dollars 447.5 million to dollars 1.5 billion.



The power brokers on Wall Street are keeping a watchful eye on the

region.



Large investment banks, including Goldman Sachs, CS First Boston, Morgan

Stanley Dean Witter and Chase H&Q, have profited greatly from

underwriting the IPOs of Northwest companies. While most operate out of

San Francisco, it’s likely that others will follow the lead of Goldman

Sachs and open a local branch in the region.



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