Omnicom’s worldwide PR group Ketchum PR is to sign a contract this week
to buy Scope Communications Group.
From 1 January Scope will merge with Ketchum’s existing London operation
to form a new company called Scope Ketchum Communications.
As part of the acquisition, predicted by PR Week last month, the Scope
name will be dropped after a two year transition period.
The deal is estimated to be worth in excess pounds 3 million. Pre-tax
profits for Scope, which includes design and sponsorship businesses as
well as PR, were around pounds 350,000 in 1995.
James Maxwell, founder and chief executive of Scope, which has a fee
income of pounds 3.5 million, is to become CEO of the new business. He
will report to Ketchum Europe managing director Jerry Olszewski.
The combined business will employ 80 staff, 66 of whom will be in PR,
and boast a fee income of pounds 5 million.
Scope’s existing board will be joined by Ketchum healthcare director
Paul Blackburn and head of technology Robin Burton. Missing from the new
board will be Ketchum’s director of seven years Jim Horsley. He was
offered the job of joint managing director but has chosen to leave next
year to ‘pursue other options’.
Negotiations between the two agencies began in earnest three months ago.
David Drobis, chairman and CEO of Ketchum - the world’s sixth largest PR
firm -said ‘it was love at first sight’.
‘Ketchum’s experience in business-to-business communications, healthcare
and technology complements Scope’s capabilities in corporate and
consumer communications,’ he said.
Maxwell said he has gained an international culture. ‘With the sort of
multinational clients we work for our lack of international presence may
have counted against us. It’s a great chance for our people to cross
borders,’ he added.
Scope clients include Allied Domecq, BT and Toyota while Ketchum works
for Federal Express and United Biscuits.
Maxwell and Olszewski said there will be no redundancies as a result of