The new 25-strong consultancy - De Facto Communications - will be run by De Facto CEO Richard Anderson, with Ozone chairman Gareth Zundel taking up a full-time consultancy role at Bell Pottinger.
Zundel will concentrate on finding growth and new-business opportunities for Bell Pottinger in the health sphere, with the public sector a target. PRWeek understands the agency is considering acquisitions to act as a fillip to growth in the health arena.
Ozone was formed around three years ago from the healthcare arm of Bell Pottinger's tech outfit Harvard, where Zundel worked for 23 years, latterly as MD.
Bell Pottinger acquired De Facto - which handles corporate PR for biotech firms, as well as clinical trials marketing and med ed work - 14 months ago (PRWeek, 23 September 2005).
Ozone's four staff will now operate as a consumer division for De Facto, headed by director - and former Ozone MD - Paul Jarman.
Anderson said the merger, announced internally on Tuesday, would not affect clients - which include Vichy (from Ozone) and Roche and GlaxoSmithKline (De Facto). ‘They now have access to a bigger organisation and a broader team,' he said.
He added: ‘We were acquired last year and the plan has always been to create a broader health offering... the merger just made sense.'