Omnicom this week confirmed its position as the world’s largest
supplier of PR services with the acquistion of the sixth-largest firm
An announcement was expected as PR Week went to press on Wednesday.
The deal, worth between dollars 85 million and dollars 100 million, will
see F-H combined with one of Omnicom’s existing PR networks, the
fourth-largest firm Porter Novelli International, under the umbrella of
an as-yet-unamed holding company.
John Graham, chairman and CEO of Fleishman-Hillard and the largest of
its 550 employee shareholders, will be chairman and CEO of the new
It is understood the top management of Porter Novelli will also have
senior management positions.
Both firms have other acqusitions in the pipeline which, according to
Omnicom president John Wren, will take combined fee income to in excess
of dollars 250 million making it the world’s largest PR firm.
It is understood the plan is to keep both brands separate although some
offices may be merged.
Wren confirmed this was under discussion but that the ’form of it and
the brands that are going to be involved in it are not yet
He added: ’this is not about being the biggest - we have to come up with
a new paradigm that allows entrepreneurs in both organisations the same
opportunities for growth and succss that they had before’.
The move was said to be prompted by F-H’s desire to gain access to
capital to fund expansion. An earlier plan to float on the New York
exchange was rejected last year.
Omnicom also owns Ketchum Public Relations, ranked number seven in the
world, together with financial PR shop Gavin Anderson. In Europe it owns
public affairs group GPC Market Access.
Based in St Louis, Fleishman-Hillard has 28 offices worldwide, including
seven in Europe: London, Paris, Frankfurt, Brussels, Milan, Dublin and
The deal leaves Edelman Worldwide as the last top ten independent global