B-M Beefs Up in the U.K. with Communique Acquisition
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B-M Beefs Up in the U.K. with Communique Acquisition

Burson-Marsteller made its first acquisition since the WPP deal, buying U.K. PR consultancy Communiqué, which will operate as a stand-alone entity within B-M’s existing U.K. operations

Paul Holmes


LONDON, May 30—When WPP Group acquired Young & Rubicam late last year, one of the predicted consequences was that Y&R’s public relations firms would become a little more aggressive in the acquisitions arena. Last week Cohn & Wolfe bought Springbok, one of the top technology PR firms in Texas, and this week Burson-Marsteller made its first acquisition since the WPP deal, buying U.K. PR consultancy Communiqué.

Communiqué, headquartered in Manchester, will operate as a stand-alone entity within B-M’s existing U.K. operations, reporting to chief executive Allan Biggar. But its addition will boost the firm to sixth in the U.K. rankings.

According to Biggar, “This acquisition will increase the choice, breadth and depth of our client offerings, and allow us to grow the business from an existing position of strength. “The formidable commercial success Communiqué has achieved in the areas of guerrilla and experiential marketing, combined with the complementary set of sector experience, will fast track Burson-Marsteller’s growth in marketing.”

With a turnover of £2.8 million and 38 percent growth last year, Communiqué employs 35 staff. It was just outside the top 50 in the U.K. rankings last year, and represents clients including Boddington’s beer, Beefeater restaurants, Thornton’s chocolates, and Dulux paints.

Communiqué founder Paul Carroll said he believed the agreement would help accelerate his firm’s growth. “In particular, we can partner in areas such as strategic planning, staff development, best practices and new-business opportunities.” He says B-M was a perfect fit because “despite the difference in size, our cultures are very similar.”

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