Publicasity and Thirteen Communications likely to merge, says Porta CEO David Wright

Porta CEO David Wright has told PRWeek he expects the group's new acquisition Publicasity and its other consumer PR agency Thirteen Communications to merge at some point.

David Wright: Eyeing acquisitions in the UK and overseas
David Wright: Eyeing acquisitions in the UK and overseas

He also said Porta would "definitely" be making further acquisitions, with PR agencies among the priorities for the AIM-listed marcoms group.

The company completed the £2.8m acquisition of Publicasity on Wednesday, with all 28 employees of the agency set to relocate to Porta’s head office at Basinghall Street in the City of London next Friday (19 December).

Publicasity specialises in the food & drink, travel & tourism, retail, home and fashion sectors. Asked why Porta chose to acquire the business, Wright said: "We have a small consumer PR agency in Thirteen Communications. But it wasn’t really big enough, and what we needed to do was to broaden the range of expertise, and the fact that Publicasity specialises in all the areas we don’t meant it was a perfect fit."

He added: "I would see them working closely together and even down the line – and I wouldn’t put a time on it – to merge them together completely."

Wright said Porta regularly employed an integrated approach to pitching, with different agencies in the group pitching together to offer their complementary specialisms.

"I would see more of the same happening [with Publicasity]. I would see Publicasity enjoying the benefits of being part of a bigger group with a much broader client base and probably bigger opportunities going forward."

Publicasity was Porta’s fourth acquisition of 2014, after WSM Print & Design and Digital, Redleaf Polhill and PPS.

Wright said Porta was not in negotiation on acquiring any more at present: "There are a number of companies we’ve been talking to over the year. Some are more advanced, some more acceptable, some are more prioritised.

"Will we be making any [acquisitions] in the future? We definitely will."

He said acquisitions would not necessarily be UK-based, and Porta would be looking overseas. "If the right company came along that fitted in with our plans we would look at it," he stated, adding that "from time to time you have to be opportunistic".

Regarding the genre of business, Wright said: "We will probably be looking at areas like research, and building on probably most of the disciplines we’ve got now. Whatever adds value to our clients we would be interested in."

Asked if PR would be a priority, he said: "Yes, but these days PR covers a multitude of things. The old-fashioned conventional PR probably doesn’t exist any more – it’s a form of marketing. So the answer is yes, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn't look at an advertising agency, for example."

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