HP slashes global PR roster to three shops

Computing giant HP - created earlier this year by the £13bn merger of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq - is understood to have carved up its global PR business, slashing its roster from 50 to just a handful of agencies.

HP slashes global PR roster to three shops

Sources close to the decision confirm HP has ended its lengthy pitch process, involving a final shortlist of five: Golin/Harris International, Hill & Knowlton, Burson-Marsteller, Porter Novelli International and The Hoffman Agency.

Industry sources suggest the group has chosen previous incumbents Hill & Knowlton and Porter Novelli International alongside newcomer Burson-Marsteller for the bulk of the global work.

Hoffman Agency president Lou Hoffman confirmed HP told the agency this week it had lost out in the review after a 15-year relationship with Hewlett-Packard. He said the decision is likely to affect the Hoffman network, but added it was too early to say what impact the loss of one of its flagship accounts would have.

It is not yet clear whether incumbent Golin/Harris International has retained any of HP's PR business, but speculation suggests the agency is not included on the global roster going forward.

HP remained tight-lipped on the review's results. Spokeswoman Monica Sarkar said it was 'still in the selection process' but anticipated making a formal announcement within the next two weeks.

The news leaves a question mark hanging over the future of HP's relationship with UK retained agencies Firefly Communications and Beattie Media, which pre-merger worked with Compaq and HP respectively.

HP UK communications head Nicola Adamson said the situation is still under review: 'The decision made in the States doesn't mean it's a done deal in the UK. We have two agencies on board at the moment, which we will be looking at.'

HP confirmed in August it had sent out an RFI to around a dozen agencies, but intended to create an agency model comprising three to five agencies worldwide (PRWeek, 9 August).

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