NEW YORK, June 8—Jerry Schwartz isn’t looking to be the next Martin Sorrell, but he does believe the downturn in the public relations economy presents a growth opportunity for midsize agencies such as his. So this week his 20-year-old agency, which reported revenues of around $6 million last year, plunged into the acquisitions market, buying The Wachsman Cear Group, an independent firm best known for its marketing communications work, particularly in the alcoholic beverage industry.
“This is a great time to pick up great talent,” says Schwartz, who adds that he hopes to close on another deal within the next few weeks. “Some people who started agencies during boom times have not had to operate during a downturn like this, and may prefer to let someone else deal with the management issues. We are not looking to build the next Shandwick, but we have spoken with a number of smaller firms over the past few weeks.”
Wachsman Cear was founded as David S. Wachsman Associates in 1957, and was acquired by Joan Cear from founder David Wachsman in 1998. It has fees of around $500,000 and serves clients including Audiovox Communications, Champagne Duval-Leroy, Chevys restaurants, Magners Original Vintage Cider and Mumbleypeg Productions, all of which will now be serviced by Schwartz. Cear, meanwhile, will join the firm as senior vice president.
Separately, the agency announced the addition of three new clients: American Safety Razor Company, a leading manufacturer of personal care products; Venture Investment Management Company, an 18-year-old venture capital firm; and New York University’s School of Continuing & Professional Studies.
Schwartz says he expects his firm to maintain its 2000 fee income level in 2001.