Eric Mower + Associates snags Middleton & Gendron in latest agency deal

In the third major PR agency business deal of the week, Eric Mower + Associates has agreed to acquire Middleton & Gendron.

Eric Mower
Eric Mower

SYRACUSE, NY: Eric Mower + Associates is combining with PR and brand communications firm Middleton & Gendron.

The merger will take effect on November 1. Together, the firms, which were introduced by SGP Worldwide, will form an independent shop with more than 250 employees and estimated 2014 capitalized billings of nearly $250 million, including advertising and integrated marketing revenue, the agencies said in a statement.

Until the end of 2015, Middleton & Gendron will operate as M&G/Eric Mower + Associates. It will then adopt the Eric Mower + Associates brand.

M&G chairman Yvonne Middleton and president Mary Gendron will continue to lead the New York City office and will join EMA as partners. The rest of the M&G team will be retained and will continue to lead client teams.

Eric Mower will continue to lead the eponymous firm as chairman and CEO.

Mower indicated that the chance to expand in New York City was an appealing part of the deal.

"This combination is very important to us; we are not Johnny-come-lately to the PR business," he said. "We expect that our PR practice is going to grow from one-third to half of our volume now that we are in New York."

Mower’s agency chose Middleton & Gendron due to the firms’ compatibility, but also because of M&G’s presence in the luxury, hospitality, travel, and leisure sectors.

"We have clients in those areas, but with M&G, we are able to operate at a much higher level in that category," said Mower. "Specialty areas are important to us."

The deal’s financial information was not disclosed.

M&G specializes in the luxury hospitality, travel, and lifestyle categories, but also works with companies in the real-estate, b-to-b, retail, and fitness industries. Its clients have included Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the Savoy Group, Singapore Airlines, Rolex, and FAO Schwarz.

The combination will also help EMA continue to grow nationally and extend the public affairs reach of its Albany, New York, office, it said in a statement. After the merger, EMA staffers will be based in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, and New York City in New York State, as well as Cincinnati, Atlanta, and Charlotte.

Gendron added that the combination will enable her firm to learn more from EMA about public affairs and reputation management, two areas where it is considering an expansion.  

"This [deal] expands opportunities for our employees to grow and prosper in their careers because they are tapping into a much larger operation than what we have had," added Gendron. "At the same time, we get to continue to operate in an independent fashion."

Eric Mower + Associates reported PR revenue of $11.9 million in 2013, down slightly from $11.91 million in the previous year. It had 62 US PR staffers as of the end of last year.

Representatives from the two firms were not immediately available for comment.

The merger represents the third major business deal this week in the PR industry. On Tuesday afternoon, ICF International agreed to acquire integrated firm Olson, including its Minneapolis-based PR firm Olson Engage. On Wednesday morning, Cision continued its acquisition spree by buying Gorkana Group for an undisclosed sum, following its combinations with Vocus and Visible Technologies.

This story was updated on October 22 with quotes from Mower and Gendrom.

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