Weber Group, the US-owned hi-tech agency, has been purchased by
advertising group McCann-Erickson Worldwide.
The terms of the acquisition, which was announced last Thursday, were
not disclosed, although Weber is ranked as the eighth largest PR firm in
the US, reporting fee income of dollars 12.3 million (pounds 7.6
million) last year.
Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the agency will continue to
trade separately under its own name and remains under the direction of
chairman and CEO Lawrence Weber.
As part of the deal, Weber will also become chairman and CEO of a new
public relations division within McCann-Erickson. He will be in charge
of developing the group’s public relations interests on a worldwide
basis and examining opportunities for further acquisitions.
Weber told PR Week that McCann Erickson was particularly keen to move
into the financial and healthcare fields and expand its European reach.
The company, he added, was already in discussions with several UK
companies. ‘The goal is to create one of the largest PR agencies
operating in the UK,’ he said.
McCann Erickson runs a PR outfit in the UK with five regional branches:
London, Bristol, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester, while Weber has a
European wing based in London. Lawrence Weber did not rule out the
possibility that both firms might eventually be merged.
The UK’s fastest growing PR agency, Weber Group Europe recorded an
impressive 112 per cent increase in fee income last year to over pounds
1 million from pounds 477,000 in 1994.
Earlier this year McCann Erickson’s London-based advertising business
signalled its intention to tie up with a PR agency (PR Week, 9
February). Two agencies were approached about a possible full or partial
acquisition although the discussions did not eventually lead to a deal.