Hill+Knowlton Strategies bolsters Latin America presence by acquiring JeffreyGroup

The WPP firm is concurrently expanding its Brazil-based shop Ideal globally.

AnnaMaria DeSalva is H+K's global CEO.

NEW YORK: Hill+Knowlton Strategies has acquired the Latin America-focused agency JeffreyGroup and expanded its own Brazil-based firm, Ideal, internationally.

The addition of JeffreyGroup doubles Hill+Knowlton’s footprint in Latin America and creates what H+K said is the largest global agency presence in the region, according to a statement from the firm. 

JeffreyGroup – headquartered in Miami, with offices in Mexico City, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Buenos Aires – will keep its branding in Latin America as a part of Hill+Knowlton.

Brian Burlingame, who has served as JeffreyGroup’s CEO since 2015, will lead H+K’s total Latin American operation. He will report to H+K’s CEO of the Americas, Richard Millar, and join H+K’s global leadership council. Jeffrey Sharlach, JeffreyGroup’s founder, will continue to serve as its chairman. H+K said no layoffs will take place as a result of the deal.

Concurrently, Hill+Knowlton said it has internationally expanded its Ideal brand, though it did not provide new office locations or other details about the agency growth in a statement. Representatives from H+K and JeffreyGroup could not be reached for additional comment. 

Ideal will operate as a global H+K subsidiary, expanding primarily into the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as the U.K. and Europe. 

Ricardo Cesar, who has led H+K’s Latin American operations since 2018, has been promoted to Ideal global CEO. Reporting to H+K global chairman and CEO AnnaMaria DeSalva, Cesar is responsible for taking the Ideal brand and business model to a global market. He will also work closely with Sara Gourlay, H+K’s global chair of technology and telecoms.

Hill+Knowlton acquired Ideal in 2015 to ramp up its presence in the region prior to the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Hill+Knowlton operates more than 70 offices in nearly 40 countries worldwide. 

Headquartered in New York, the firm is part of WPP. H+K has delivered double digit-growth every quarter since early 2021. The firm posted a 12% gain in revenue globally last year to $410 million and a 5% increase in the U.S. to $115 million, according to PRWeek’s Agency Business Report 2022.

JeffreyGroup has 330 employees and its clients include Amazon, American Airlines, AstraZeneca, Bacardí, Bayer, BlackRock, Johnson & Johnson, Marriott International, Salesforce, TikTok and Walt Disney World Resorts.

In 2021, JeffreyGroup posted a revenue increase of 14% globally to $13.9 million. 

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