Freuds returns to US with Brew Media Relations acquisition

Brew Media Relations, which was founded by Brooke Hammerling, will continue with its existing operations and report to Freuds CEO Andrew McGuinness.

Brew Media Relations founder Brooke Hammerling
Brew Media Relations founder Brooke Hammerling

LONDON: Freuds, a London-based PR agency, is returning to the US with the acquisition of tech PR firm Brew Media Relations, which has operations in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.

Freuds takes full ownership of Brew Media Relations with immediate effect.

Brew Media Relations, which has a total of 20 staffers across the US, will continue with its existing operations and report to Freuds CEO Andrew McGuinness. It was not immediately clear how the roles of Brew CEO Dena Cook and the firm’s founder Brooke Hammerling will change.

Brew’s clients are primarily technology and digital media companies. The firm offers services including targeted media relations, brand marketing, business development, and fundraising support.

The deal follows recent personnel changes at Freuds, including the hire of Eleanor Coates from Warner Music as strategy director, Seb Royce as chief creative officer, Giles Pocock as partnership director, and Chloe Franses as director of talent partnerships and endorsement.

Last fall, Freuds also invested in Proud Robinson, a marketing, events, and content company, taking a 50% stake.

Recent clients to join the agency include Purple Bricks, Belstaff, SCA, Jamie Oliver Foundation, and Estée Lauder.

Freuds was founded in 1985 by high-profile chairman Matthew Freud, who was 22 at the time and is often described as the most influential PR pro in the UK. His firm handled PR for the 2012 London Olympics. He is the inaugural member of the PRWeek UK Hall of Fame.

The agency was previously owned by ad agency Abbott Mead Vickers, which acquired it in 1994 and was then in turn acquired by Omnicom. In 2001, Freud reacquired ownership of his eponymous agency from Omnicom in a management buyout.

In 2005, Freud sold Publicis 49% of the business and opened a New York office, which then folded into local agency HL Group in 2009. Freud bought his company out of that arrangement in 2013.

It is now independent, with new offices and a revamped management structure. It posted revenues of £28.4 million ($42.6m) in 2014.

Last November, Freud told PRWeek his firm was "independent and debt-free... [and] reasonably flush," adding "there are opportunities to find like-minded businesses that don’t want to fold into a global group and don’t want to sell out to a private equity company."

He said the agency was "actiively engaged in conversations with a number of businesses to explore what collaboration might look like." The acquisition of Brew is the first fruit from those discussions.

Freud is the great-grandson of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and he also has family connections with PR pioneer Edward Bernays. Bernays' father was Sigmund Freud's brother-in-law and his mother was Sigmund Freud's sister.

Matthew Freud was formerly married to media magnate Rupert Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth - they divorced in 2014.

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