PR takeover fever set to continue into the fall

Takeover fever has swept the world of PR agencies in the last seven days. As previously discussed, the market is heating up again and there are several predators on the lookout for agencies of all sizes to swallow up.

Takeover fever has swept the world of PR agencies in the last seven days. As previously discussed, the market is heating up again and there are several predators on the lookout for agencies of all sizes to swallow up.

Chief amongst them, as usual in recent times, is Miles Nadal's MDC Partners, which purchased Kwittken & Company through its subsidiary Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners.

The New York Times put the acquisition price at $10-$15 million. If that really is the case then you have to say well done to Aaron Kwittken and his co-founder Jason Schlossberg. They have certainly hit pay dirt if you consider that the agency's 2009 revenues reported to PRWeek for our 2010 Agency Business Report were only just in excess of $3 million – on the surface, that's a pretty steep multiple for an acquisition. Clearly, if you are looking to sell your agency, Miles Nadal's organization is definitely one you need to speak to.

It will be interesting to see how Nadal develops his acquisition strategy from here. If he is to really make a splash, perhaps he needs to dig deeper into his pockets and place a bid for one of the mid-sized agencies in the $25-50 million category.

Elsewhere, the Next 15 group acquired a digital agency called Type3 to house its Project Metal digital PR initiative, rebranding the combined venture under the Beyond banner.

And in Miami, Rbb completed its second acquisition of the year, snapping up Thorp & Company and bringing its combined revenue up to $5 million.

It's going to be a busy fall on the M&A front and I expect more deals to be done, with the market rationalizing as agency groups position themselves for a new dynamic that is being driven by consolidation and cross-discipline client work.

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