WASHINGTON, D.C.—Fleishman-Hillard is close to acquiring Washington-based government affairs firm Quinn Gillespie, parent company Omnicom confirmed today. The news comes just a couple of weeks after reports that WPP Group would by the firm, which has emerged as one of the capital’s fastest-growing lobbying shops—and attracted its share of controversy.
Omnicom said a deal for Quinn Gillespie was close, but that final terms had not yet been agreed. The deal will likely be finalized within two weeks.
The Council of Public Relations Firms ranked fleishman-Hillard first in public affairs revenues, with more than $70 million in income. In addition to its own Washington operation, Fleishman operates GPC International, a government affairs firm with strengths in Canada and the United Kingdom; GMMB (Greer Margolis Mitchell & Burns), a specialist in issues advertising; and R. Duffy Wall, a lobbying boutique. It also acquired Texas public affairs firm Allyn & Company earlier this year.
One of the strengths of Fleishman’s public affairs network has been its international work, including programs conducted on behalf of overseas government. The Quinn Gillespie acquisition will give the firm access to some blue-chip corporate clients.
Founded in early 2000, Quinn Gillespie has a client list that includes the American Hospital Association, the American Insurance Association, Coca Cola, Intel, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, Cisco Systems, DaimlerChrysler, Microsoft, and the steel industry’s Stand Up for Steel coalition. The firm’s revenue in the first two years totaled approximately $25 million.
But partner Jack Quinn was widely criticized for his role in representing Marc Rich, the fugitive financier pardoned by President Clinton as he left office, and Ed Gillespie was among the leading lobbyists for Enron.