Plans to merge the two consultancies were announced in April, and the combined agency – called Newgate – has its official launch today (1 November). The new, London-headquartered agency employs 235 people from 16 offices in seven countries.
Since news of the merger was announced, the agency said it has won accounts with IT group CentralNIC, to be its global comms advisor; retailer Azadea, for an EMEA and US brief; and music industry body UK Music, including work on the LoveMusic campaign.
The agency also said it has won two unnamed clients: a FTSE100 pensions group and an asset management firm.
Emma Kane (pictured), chief executive of the newly merged operation and also joint-CEO of Porta alongside Brian Tyson, told PRWeek there is no duplication of roles and there have been no redundancies.
There have been four appointments in property and luxury roles, Kane said. That is in addition to other senior hires, previously reported: Paul Wynne, former director at Cognito, and Dafydd Rees, ex-head of business news at Sky – both who joined as partners.
Other changes have seen the formation of a leadership communications team of former journalists, featuring Rees, ex-ITV journalist and Newgate director Louise Male; and Guy Smith, agency partner and formerly of BBC, ITV and Channel Five.
She said the business is operating in a "seamless" way now, under one P&L.
"One of the problems the business has had is that it was operating in a number of silos, whereas everybody is working as one team now, which is great. That whole raison d'être of being an integrated communications group, and providing clients with a cohesive offering, is now working extremely well."
In September, PRWeek reported that cost-cutting at Newgate UK dampened Porta’s first-half performance, with revenue, earnings and profit taking a hit. Newgate’s London office had been stripping back costs, including non-performing services, ahead of the move.
In the past year, Newgate and Redleaf have handled comms around business stories including the proposed restructure and CVA of House of Fraser, Stobart’s board dispute and subsequent court case, and Patron Capital’s acquisition of Punch Taverns.
Speaking to PRWeek in April about the Redleaf/Newgate merger decision, Porta chairman John Foley said: "Redleaf and Newgate have been in the same offices since earlier this year, and also Redleaf was an acquisition where the earn-out period has now ended.
"I’ve been chairman of Porta for a year, and in that time we’ve done a fair bit: we’ve been beginning to sort out the balance sheet, we’ve got a bank line in place, the company’s profits and revenues are ok and going up.
"For the next stage in the group’s development, Brian and Emma are the right people to lead the group. Brian’s been on the board since 2017 and makes a really great contribution. Emma’s clearly a very experienced and dynamic leader in her own right, so the combination of the two of them in the UK and Australia could be very exciting for Porta."
The newly merged agency’s offices are in Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Brisbane, Bristol, Canberra, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Hong Kong, London, Leeds, Manchester, Melbourne, Perth, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney.