Hill & Knowlton to Acquire Chicago's Dome
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Hill & Knowlton to Acquire Chicago's Dome

Hill & Knowlton has signed a letter of intent to acquire the assets of Dome Communications, one of the leading independent public relations agencies in the U.S.

Paul Holmes

NEW YORK—Hill & Knowlton has signed a letter of intent to acquire the assets of Dome Communications, one of the leading independent public relations agencies in the U.S. Dome founder, Doug Dome, will become president of Dome/Hill & Knowlton. He will also serve as U.S. creative director, reporting to MaryLee Sachs, president and CEO, and join the U.S. executive committee.

The acquisition strengthens Hill & Knowlton’s consumer marketing capabilities in the Midwest, where the firm was historically strong. In recent years, however, the Chicago office in particular has seen more growth in the corporate and public affairs sectors, and in the technology arena, with Motorola. Dome is best known for its marketing work—clients include Sears, InterfaceFLOR, Fleishmann’s, Bank One—as well as for its progressive, creative workplace.

Just six years old, Dome’s revenues were in excess of $10 million in 2003.

“Dome is an amazing shop of creative energy and entrepreneurial spirit,” says Sachs. “It is that distinguishing personality that matches favorably with H&K’s culture of innovation and excellence in the business. Dome ‘s outstanding work, creativity and energy make up a powerful force that continues to serve existing clients and to earn new assignments even through its setbacks. We came together and realized the possibilities in aligning our two organizations.”

In his new role, Dome will collaborate closely with Steve Singerman, general manager of Hill & Knowlton Chicago and U.S. director of the marketing communications practice. “Re-establishing our marketing communications presence is quickly becoming a reality with the addition of Dome,” says Sachs.

Says Dome, “My team and I have accomplished great things in the past seven years with exciting account wins, aggressive growth, incredibly bright and talented people, outstanding recognition for our unique business model, and more than 160 creative awards. But as I’ve reflected on our growth and recent account changes, it’s clear our primary limitation has been a lack of global and network resources that global companies and brands are seeking in an agency. I’m very excited at the prospect of reaching a new level with Hill & Knowlton, as we instantly meld into a tremendous global network that embodies terrific brand equity.”

Dome says that while his firm has been approached by many potential buyers, “Hill & Knowlton was the most aggressive,” and did “by far did the best job of showing us why Dome/H&K will provide the right fit.”

He says the culture he built at Dome, which was named the Best Agency to Work For by this newsletter two years ago, was a critical factor in the decision. “Both H&K and I entered this agreement knowing that Dome’s distinctive culture is the driver of our success. Therefore, our goal is to scale that approach and maintain the unique elements that have made us who we are. We now have the opportunity to do something no other agency has done—to scale a boutique, creative approach on a global and national level—and I’m confident we will succeed.

“We fully expect to replace Edelman in the marketplace as the premier provider of consumer marketing communications services.”

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