US communications group Omnicom is poised to boost its annual PR
fee income by over pounds 10 million to pounds 300 million if it
succeeds in its plan to take control of UK advertising group Abbott Mead
The pounds 350 million deal would include UK PR agencies Fishburn
Hedges, Freud Communications, Aurelia Public Relations, Frew Macmaster
and Hammond Communications, all part of AMV.
Last week, AMV told the London stock exchange that it was in
’preliminary discussions with Omnicom Group which may or may not lead to
a share exchange offer by Omnicom’. A further announcement is expected
’in due course’, it said.
Omnicom already has a 27.7 per cent shareholding in AMV, but wants to
acquire the remaining shares.
Omnicom is already the largest owner of PR agencies in the world. In its
stable are Fleishman-Hillard, Porter Novelli International, Ketchum
Group, Gavin Anderson, Brodeur Worldwide, Copithorne and Bellows and
lobbying firm GPC.
Porter Novelli and Fleishman-Hillard, which was acquired by Omnicom last
year, are grouped under an umbrella division, communications consulting
worldwide, whose chairman and chief executive is John Graham. Graham is
also the worldwide head of Fleishman-Hillard. It is not clear whether
AMV’s PR agencies would come under his control.
The move would take the group’s combined annual fee income to at least
pounds 300 million, according to PR Week’s Top 150 and Jack O’Dwyer’s
Young and Rubicam, which owns Burson-Marsteller and Cohn and Wolfe, had
annual fees of around pounds 184 million last year. Interpublic, which
owns Shandwick and its sister agency Golin/Harris and Weber Public
Relations Worldwide, had fees of an estimated pounds 190 million.
Senior executives on both sides were unable to comment on the move due
to UK company takeover and merger rules.