LONDON—Huntsworth, the new public relations holding company led by Shandwick founder Lord Peter Chadlington, has announced its plans to acquire Hatch, a British public relations group. Hatch was formed two years ago by former Shandwick vice-chairman Michael Murphy, and made a splash when it acquired MacLaurin, one of the best-respected independents in the U.K.
Huntsworth will pay £1.635 million for the company, plus repayment of Hatch bank debt, estimated to be £1.065 million.
Hatch includes Hatch Scotland (with offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh), Hatch Midlands in Birmingham, Hatch Public Affairs in London, and Prospero Financial, a specialist financial communications and investor relations company. In October 2002, Hatch acquired the U.K. business of Connors Communications, a specialist technology PR consultancy. Revenues last year were around $7 million.
It has a portfolio of over 60 clients including Astrium, ATOC, BAFTA, Diageo, Disney, EDS, Greater London Authority, Land Securities, Opodo, Orange, Pringle, Robert Wiseman Dairies, Stanley Tools, Universal Pictures and Xstrata.
In addition to strengthening Huntsworth’s consumer and technology offerings, Hatch will allow the group to expand its presence in the U.K. in high-level financial PR and investor relations and public affairs. The intention is that Hatch and its subsidiaries, including MacLaurin, will retain their own brand identities whilst working with other Huntsworth group companies to develop solutions for clients.
Murphy will continue to lead the firm on a day-to-day basis. He has entered into a service agreement with Huntsworth for a minimum period of three years.
Said Chadlington in a statement to U.K. media, “We continue to focus on our core strategy of building a public relations group serving our chosen markets. Although the economic environment remains uncertain, we have seen signs of returning confidence amongst our clients. Whilst we treat these encouraging signs with some caution, we believe it is certainly a more supportive commercial environment than we experienced a year ago.”