NEW YORK: Like-for-like organic revenue at Cohn & Wolfe was up 10.6% in the first half of 2018 compared to 2017, while revenue at Burson-Marsteller remained flat, Donna Imperato, global CEO of Burson Cohn & Wolfe, told PRWeek.
Profits at both companies grew by double digits, Imperato said in a statement issued Tuesday morning, shortly after BCW’s holding company WPP released Q2 numbers. Financial numbers at both companies will be tracked separately until end of the year, according to a BCW spokesperson.
Continually improving demand boosted revenue at Cohn & Wolfe, said Imperato.
"The steady demand from clients for integrated communications solutions helped Cohn & Wolfe end the first half of 2018 up 10.6% [on an organic basis] and lay the foundation for a fifth-consecutive year of double-digit growth," said Imperato. "Burson-Marsteller’s revenue was flat but both agencies delivered double-digit increases in profit through the first six months of the year."
Imperato did not offer an explanation for Burson-Marsteller’s flat revenue.
PR and public affairs companies were a bright spot for WPP in Q2. The holding company said revenue was up 6% on a like-for-like basis for the division which includes Burson Cohn & Wolfe, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Finsbury, and Buchanan.
However, WPP’s overall numbers were not as positive and the company’s shares dropped 8% Tuesday morning, according to the Wall Street Journal, after the holding company reported poor results in North America.
The earnings numbers came not long after WPP confirmed that Mark Read would be its new CEO, replacing Martin Sorrell who stepped down in April.
Parent holding company WPP brought together Cohn & Wolfe and Burson-Marsteller in late February, forming the third-largest PR firm in the world by revenue with Imperato as its CEO. Former Burson CEO Don Baer began serving as chairman at that time. The combined agency saw 4% revenue growth last year to an estimated $691 million.
Editor's note: The headline was updated on September 5 to reflect revenue in first half.