Hill and Knowlton parent company WPP has emerged as a possible bidder
for the self-styled ‘media management’ consultancy Luther Pendragon.
WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell met the agency’s managing director
George Pitcher last month, although Sorrell has denied that he is
planning to buy it or any other public relations consultancy.
WPP owns both Hill and Knowlton - the world’s third-largest PR firm,
which this year returned to profit for the first time since 1992 - and
the number nine Ogilvy Adams and Rinehart.
Despite a strong performance by H&K in the UK the agency has little
financial PR business - a point conceded by UK chief executive David
McLaren in April, when he said: ‘But we have a plan to fix that’.
A deal with Luther Pendragon would be one solution. The firm has several
financial public relations specialists including former Times City
editor Melvyn Marckus.
Last month (18 October) PR Week reported that the agency had received an
offer of pounds 5 million from an unnamed UK advertising group.
Speaking on Tuesday, Pitcher, however, denied that there was any deal in
the offing and declined to be drawn on whether Luther Pendragon had been
approached by WPP.
Other firms WPP is believed to have looked at include the group’s
retained financial PR agency Buchanan Communications.