COMMENT: Editorial; Citigate steams into the market

Citigate’s transformation into a publicly listed company must rank as one of the least surprising announcements in PR consultancy history, given that David Wright has made no secret of this ambition.

Citigate’s transformation into a publicly listed company must rank as

one of the least surprising announcements in PR consultancy history,

given that David Wright has made no secret of this ambition.



Nevertheless the timing is interesting because it has happened sooner

than even Wright expected. This is mainly a result of finding in Incepta

a suitable partner for what will be a genuine merger.



Citigate has been one of the most consistently well managed groups in

the sector since its formation in 1988, and there is no reason to doubt

that it will continue to thrive in its new incarnation. Wright is keen

for the new group to be seen not as a PR company with added extras but

as a true diversified communications group, with more in common with

Abbott Mead Vickers than with Shandwick or Chime. The spread of

businesses in the new group lends some justification to this view.



Nevertheless, Citigate is still best known for public relations. And

like Shandwick and Chime it has a strong record in financial PR, which

means it has the advantage of already being a familiar name in the City.

All of this bodes well, not only for its own performance in the market,

but for the level of interest in the sector generally.



But we should not necessarily expect this to herald a flood of agencies

coming to the market. If anything the reverse is probably true. While

this week’s survey of marketing services companies from WKS Results

shows that there is a high level of potential M&A activity in the

sector, there are no other groups of sufficient size and impetus to

vault successfully into a public listing. Yet.



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