NEWS: ‘Love at first sight’ for Ketchum and Scope

Omnicom’s worldwide PR group Ketchum PR is to sign a contract this week to buy Scope Communications Group.

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

the deal.

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