H&K Combines Blanc & Otus, Socket to Form Tech "Mega-Brand"
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H&K Combines Blanc & Otus, Socket to Form Tech "Mega-Brand"

Hill & Knowlton is merging the operations of its two branded high-tech PR subsidiaries, Blanc & Otus and Socket Public Relations. The merger will create one of the largest, full-service technology public relations firms in the nation.

Paul Holmes

SAN FRANCISCO, June 10—Hill & Knowlton is merging the operations of its two branded high-tech PR subsidiaries, Blanc & Otus and Socket Public Relations. The merger will create one of the largest, full-service technology public relations firms in the nation.
 
Following the merger, SocketPR will begin operating under the Blanc & Otus brand, all SocketPR employees will become B&O employees, and B&O will have operations in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, San Francisco and Washington DC. 
 
“The decision to combine SocketPR and Blanc & Otus was a natural,” said Greg Spector, president and chief executive officer of Blanc & Otus.  “With the merger, B&O is able to provide clients even broader capabilities and an expanded geographical reach into the Southwest and Southeast markets.”
 
Spector said that the consolidation was not related to any downturn in business, and that B&O has been seeing more new business opportunities since the start of the year. “This is part of a three year plan that will culminate in the creation of a mega-brand in technology public relations,” he said. “To build that kind of brand we need greater resources, in terms of people and geography.
 
“This is just step one.” Steps two and three will be announced shortly, he added.
 
B&O, founded in 1986 and headquartered in San Francisco was acquired by Hill and Knowlton in 1999. Socket, founded in 1992 and headquartered in Atlanta, was acquired a year later. Over the years, the two companies have represented such diverse companies as Sybase, Sony, E.piphany, Dun & Bradstreet, NetIQ, TiVo, Motorola and Compaq.
 
“We are delighted to take on the B&O brand and become part of the B&O family,” said Peter Baron, founder of SocketPR.  “We have been working closely with B&O since our acquisition by Hill & Knowlton. By blending our agencies, we immediately expand our resources and gain vital ‘on the ground’ presence on the East and West Coasts that will immediately benefit our clients our clients and staff.”
 
Beverly McDonald and Peter Baron will serve as co-general managers of B&O’s Atlanta office. Craig Parks, who has headed SocketPR’s Austin office for five years, will continue in that role for B&O.
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