Publicis acquires Schwartz Communications

PARIS, FRANCE: Schwartz Communications, an independent US PR firm that specializes in technology and healthcare, has been acquired by Publicis and will become part of MSLGroup.

PARIS, FRANCE: Schwartz Communications, an independent US PR firm that specializes in technology and healthcare, has been acquired by Publicis and will become part of MSLGroup.

Schwartz Communications will now operate under the name Schwartz MSL in the US, and will be run by Schwartz president Bryan Scanlon and COO Ari Milstein. Both will report to Jim Tsokanos, president of MSLGroup Americas.

Schwartz's European offices in London and Stockholm will be assimilated immediately into existing MSL operations. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“We're such complementary companies,” Scanlon told PRWeek. “Over the past several years, we have been expanding internationally with London and Sweden, but this really leapfrogs us to the global stage, which is something we wanted to do - in one fell swoop, we're there.”

In addition to running the Schwartz MSL Americas operation with Milstein, Scanlon was also appointed North American technology practice director for MSLGroup. Scanlon added that Schwartz Communications' cofounders Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz would no longer be affiliated with the business.

“In 2004, they started a film production company called Chockstone Pictures, and for the past few years they have been focusing very heavily on that, with Ari and myself running the day to day of the company,” he continued. “They are now entirely 100% focused on Chockstone, so are not with the company moving forward.”

Scanlon said no client conflicts exist because of Schwartz's deep tech portfolio, and MSLGroup's consumer, pharma, and events accounts. Publicis Groupe represents a number of technology companies, including HP, Samsung, and Verizon.

“In the Americas, we needed to be a bigger player in technology, along with digital and social, to diversify our business,” said Tsokanos. “Bringing in an agency like Schwartz really diversified our portfolio, and makes us a leader in technology. Technology is the fastest-moving, and probably one of the most important sectors for the US economy for growth.”

No layoffs are expected due to the acquisition, according to Tsokanos. The businesses have been consolidated in Boston with two MDs, Dave Close for Schwartz MSL, to head up technology, and Meghan Gross for MSLGroup, handling corporate reputation, and CSR, to round out nearly 110 employees in the Boston market.

On the West Coast, clients and staff have been consolidated under the leadership of Schwartz MSL MD Merrill Freund, who is based in San Francisco with a team of approximately 70 people.

Schwartz Communications joins other recent acquisitions by Publicis to ramp up its worldwide PR business, including China's Genedigi and Eastwei MSL, Brazil's Andreoli MSL, India's 20:20 MSL, and Taiwan's ICL MSL (formerly Interactive Communications).

In 2010, Waltham, MA-based Schwartz reported revenues of $22 million in the US along with an additional $2.8 million stemming from its European offices. Globally, the firm's revenues rose 1.2% last year, with key growth in cleantech, biotech and pharma, and healthcare IT.

Schwartz, which also has an office in San Francisco, employs 180 people. The agency's major accounts include Kimberly-Clark Health Care, Canon, Nordion, Elster Group, Qualys, and MicroStrategy. This past May, the agency was named AOR for Leyden Energy, and Amyris.

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