SAN FRANCISCO: Hill and Knowlton last week acquired San
Francisco-based hi-tech agency Blanc and Otus. As part of the deal the
agency’s president, Jonelle Birney, will fill the new post of global
technology practice head at H&K.
Blanc and Otus has an annual fee income of pounds 5 million, and is the
world’s 19th biggest hi-tech agency according to Jack O’Dwyer’s
rankings. It will remain a separate brand, but will share existing
clients with H&K. The two firms will not compete for new business.
Blanc and Otus’ client list includes database company Sybase and
telecoms giant MCI WorldCom. H&K’s internet communications chairman,
Tony Burgess-Webb, said: ’IT is probably the fastest growing sector. We
are strengthening our offer in the area through acquisition.’
’We are planning very extensive co-operation between the two companies
within the restrictions of client conflict. Increasingly over time a lot
of synergy will develop,’ he said.
Burgess-Webb said Blanc and Otus will provide hi-tech PR expertise to
H&K, while the association will bring Blanc and Otus’ clients access to
H&K’s global presence.
H&K’s hi-tech practice claims to be in the top three European hi-tech
players, with a fee income of over pounds 6 million. Its client list
counts Intel, Microsoft and Novell. The two firms will have an estimated
joint total fee income of about pounds 130 million for 1998.