US-owned PR agency Fleishman-Hillard is the latest target of the
highly acquisitive Omnicom group, the world’s second largest supplier of
marketing services, according to reports in the US.
Omnicom, which already has a strong portfolio of PR agencies, has been
talking to Fleishman-Hillard since late last year, according to US
magazine Advertising Age.
The process began last spring when Fleishman-Hillard and its investment
banker Cari Capital considered a public offering of stock. Having
abandoned this plan, Cari Capital approached the world’s three largest
agency holding companies about a sale.
It is believed that the initial asking price of dollars 100 million
(pounds 62.5 million) scared off world number one WPP, as well as
Interpublic Group. However, talks with Omnicom continue and the two
parties are thought to be half-way towards a deal.
Omnicom, the parent of advertising agencies BBDO, TBWA and DDB Needham,
owns Countrywide Porter Novelli, financial PR network Gavin Anderson and
lobbyist Market Access International.
In January 1996 it bought Ketchum, which in turn bought Scope
Communications Group last December. In March 1996 it purchased a 20 per
cent stake in UK technology specialist A-Plus and in September bought UK
organisational communications specialist Smythe Dorward Lambert .
Fleishman-Hillard CEO John Graham was not available for comment and
Omnicom Diversified Agency Services’ president Michael Burkin refused to
comment when PR Week went to press.
- It has been reported in the US that Burson-Marsteller has also
recently considered a sale but parent company Young and Rubicam did not
want to lose its ability to serve clients across different marketing