This is a customer service announcement for all PR agencies: will you please stop buying each other, merging, and demerging, as otherwise it's going to make it very difficult for us to put this year's PRWeek Agency Business Report together.
The ABR is published in our May print edition and we are working away hard on it now. But the rate of agency acquisition and change of ownership stories in the past few weeks makes it increasingly likely that at least one more agency will have changed its status in the gap between us going to press with the issue and the magazine hitting the streets.
Of course, there's nothing we can do about that, but I certainly don't recall us having this problem last year. It's a sign of the changing economic times in the interim and an endorsement of a piece I wrote last fall that predicted takeover fever ahead.
Since then, the spate of high-profile deals has included Porter Novelli acquiring Voce Communications, MWW Group demerging from Interpublic, Atomic PR being bought by Huntsworth, and Brodeur buying back independence from Omnicom.
I don't think there's one particular theme behind these developments, apart from the fact that the loosening up of economic shackles that had been in place for a couple of years enables holding companies to deploy their cash stockpiles and other shops to put in place ambitious new deals that have a certain amount of risk attached to them and didn't make quite as much sense during the recession.
We wish all those involved well in making these new arrangements work but, please, to anyone else on the verge of finalizing an agency deal, would you mind awfully waiting until after May to complete so we can put our Agency Business Report together in peace!