Hotwire merges with Precinct

The Precinct brand will be retired July 1.

Heather Kernahan
Heather Kernahan

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Enero Group is merging Australia-based Precinct with Hotwire, effective July 1.

The deal adds Precinct’s strategy and marketing services in a market where Hotwire has struggled to scale that capability, said Heather Kernahan, president of North America.

Jaime Nelson, MD and head of production at Precinct, is joining Hotwire as MD of strategy and marketing services, reporting to Kernahan. Nelson will lead the strategy and marketing services team in Australia, while MD Mylan Vu will lead the Australian comms team. The Precinct brand will be retired July 1.

By adding Precinct’s 14-person team, Hotwire expands its foothold in a place where it saw strong growth and also allows the agency, historically focused on B2B tech, to pivot to more strategy and marketing work.

"The strategy and marketing services was something clients were asking for, so we started adding it in the U.S. and U.K.," Kernahan said.

In the U.S., that means Hotwire can leverage Precinct’s expertise in event strategy, event execution, investor relations and sustainability, Kernahan said.

As part of that plan, Hotwire hired Chris Paxton earlier this year as chief strategy officer to oversee strategy and marketing services.

Kernahan declined to get into specifics around talks leading up to the deal, but she did say Precinct and Hotwire have worked on joint client assignments since last year. Enero highlighted the "good momentum" Leading Edge, Frank, Precinct and Hotwire have and reported those companies are benefiting from the "collaborative environment."

Precinct has been in business since 1970. Its clients include the University of South Wales, telecoms company Optus, IBM, and infrastructure company Downer Group, Kernahan said.

In 2018, Hotwire saw growth in every market in which it operates. Globally, revenue was up 10.8% to almost $36.9 million. APAC performed best, with a 38.2% increase to $1.8 million. The U.S. grew 9.1% to $15 million.

As a holding company, Enero reported improved financials for the first half of 2019 compared to 2018. Net revenues increased by 33.3% to 63.7 million in AUD, while net profit after tax before significant items increased 90.6% to 6.1 million in AUD.

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