News in brief

TECH Buckinghamshire-based Sparx Communications has joined forces with eight firms across Europe to set up a tech client referral network called GlobalCom PR-Network. The alliance includes firms such as Outsource in Belgium, Bermudes RP in France and Sterk Werk Communicatie in the Netherlands.

CONSUMER Italian sports brand Kappa is using youth specialist Espionage to 're-establish its profile on the streets of Britain'. The agency plans product placement, events and collaborations.

TECH VeriSign, best known for its security technology, has selected Hill & Knowlton as its US agency of record. The final round of an agency review included Weber Shandwick and incumbent Bite Communications.

CONSUMER Korean mobile phone maker VK Mobile has called in Van Communications to boost awareness of its fashion-focused handsets among 16 to 24-year-old British women. It is plugging its VK570 range – a phone with a diamante-studded casing.

CORPORATE BHP Billiton has hired Burson-Marsteller director Andrew Wigley. He is joining the Anglo-Australian mining firm as external affairs adviser, reporting to BHP Billiton Petroleum global external affairs manager Martin Christie.

HIGHER EDUCATIONWestminster University has appointed Trevor Morris, former CEO of Chime Communications' PR interests, as visiting professor of PR. Morris left Chime in 2003.

AGENCY Publicis Groupe has finalised its acquisition of a 50.01 per cent stake in Freud Communications. News of the deal broke in June (PRWeek, 24 June).

TECH Paratus Communications has been hired to drum up entries from the UK for the tenth annual Webby Awards. The awards, described as the 'Oscars of the internet' by Time magazine, laud the world's best websites in 65 categories. They are held in New York in July.

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