GCI is in negotiations to double the size of its consumer PR
business by acquiring consumer specialist Jane Howard PR.
The two agencies signed letters of intent last week, which means they
are now negotiating on an exclusive basis. A deal is expected by the end
The acquisition would bring GCI’s UK fee income to an estimated pounds
9.5 million for 1999, placing it well within the top 10 according to PR
Week’s 1998 league table.
Under the terms of any deal, GCI’s 15-strong consumer division, headed
by director Fiona Rollo, will remain separate. The division accounts for
roughly 10 per cent of the agency’s total UK income, estimated to reach
pounds 8.5 million in 1999. UK chief executive Adrian Wheeler wants to
bring the level of consumer business up to the 25 per cent enjoyed at
GCI’s headquarters in the US.
Jane Howard PR, which employs 20 people, will retain its own brand,
although the name will change to include GCI.
Jane Howard, founder of her eponymous agency, was attracted by GCI’s
international network, and the prospect of spending more time working
with clients after the sale. She said: ’We saw clients increasingly
asking us for European expertise. I looked at networks but none of them
offer proper policing.’
Howard owns 85 per cent of her company and the other 15 per cent is
owned by the agency’s two directors.
The agency’s clients include brewers Scottish and Newcastle, phone
retailer the Carphone Warehouse and free ads newspaper Loot. GCI’s
consumer clients include brewer Anheuser-Busch and Procter and
Wheeler said: ’Part of the motive is to have a greater presence in the
consumer marketplace. The other half is to have a broader offer so as to
be able to respond to any consumer offer which may arise.’