MWW buys way into UK market with Parys deal

MWW is aiming to become a "dominant mid-size agency" in the UK with the acquisition of London-based Parys Communications.

LONDON: MWW is aiming to become a “dominant mid-size agency” in the UK with the acquisition of London-based Parys Communications.

Parys is the firm's first acquisition, and the first step in an international expansion program that MWW founder and majority shareholder Michael Kempner said will involve opening at least three offices by the end of 2014.

Parys, which was launched in 2004, will be rebranded as MWW. The firm handles corporate, consumer, and b-to-b campaigns for clients including Four Seasons Healthcare, News UK, and the BBC, as well as mobile companies Three UK and Level 3.

Kempner said Parys' “entrepreneurial, aggressive, and nice” culture as a “challenger brand” matches that of his agency.

MWW bought the firm through a mix of cash and shares to Parys directors Patrick Herridge, Rebecca Blinston-Jones, Anthony D'Alton, and Robert Mitchell. The amount was not disclosed.

Herridge, the founder and MD of Parys, will remain in charge as UK MD of MWW, and all eight Parys employees will remain at the agency.

"I'm not here to reinvent Parys, I'm here to help it expand throughout the UK," said Kempner. “Our first goal is to provide UK services to a number of MWW clients and then work with the team to expand rapidly but smartly in London – it's our goal to be one of the dominant mid-size agencies in the UK."

Kempner pointed to London as “the capital of Europe” and a strong location from which to oversee further expansion.

This plan includes additional offices by the end of the first quarter of next year, with “two or three” added over 2014.

“We're looking at several major cities in Europe, with the objective to roll out there first,” he said. “However, that may change, and we're also looking at cities in Asia and the Middle East.”

MWW was sold to Interpublic Group, the owner of Weber Shandwick, in 2000 before being bought back as an independent agency at the end of 2010.

The East Rutherford, NJ-based agency reported revenue of $42.9 million in 2012, up 11% compared with the year prior, as well as a headcount of 207.

This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK.

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