MS&L Buys West Coast IR Specialist Pondel
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
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MS&L Buys West Coast IR Specialist Pondel

Manning Selvage & Lee this week acquired Los Angeles-based investor relations boutique PondelWilkinson Group, which will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary under the PondelWilkinson MS&L brand.

Paul Holmes

LOS ANGELES, February 5—Following up on the appointment of Citigate Dewe Rogerson veteran Rich Simonelli to head a New York investor relations practice, Manning Selvage & Lee this week acquired Los Angeles-based investor relations boutique PondelWilkinson Group, which will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary under the PondelWilkinson MS&L brand.

PondelWilkinson founder Roger Pondel will serve as managing director of MS&L’s IR practice, while partner Cecilia Wilkinson will be deputy managing director. Both will join the agency’s operating committee. Simonelli will be head of the New York office of PW MS&L, while MS&L senior VP James Storey will continue to lead an IR staff in the Atlanta office.

Pondel said one of the reasons the deal was attractive was that Manning “wants to get into this business in a very meaningful way,” and said he believed many clients were looking for greater coordination between their investor relations activities and other corporate communications activities, particularly in the wake of Regulation FD.

“Regulation FD has created a greater sense of urgency for communications,” says Pondel. “We have found ourselves talking to our clients’ marketing communications people more than ever. There’s a greater need for coordination in terms of messaging.”

Joe Gleason, managing director of MS&L’s global corporate practice agrees. “The lines between these disciplines are blurring. New technology, heightened disclosure requirements, and consumer demand for greater transparency are driving a newly integrated approach to financial communications. This acquisition significantly broadens our capability and allows us to take a major strategic position in this space.”

PondelWilkinson has historically worked most closely with small and mid-cap companies, and neither Pondel nor Gleason foresees a change. Says Pondel, “MS&L has many mid-cap companies among its clients, and they are the clients who need the most assistance on a day-to-day basis.” Larger companies, he said, typically handle their ongoing investor relations needs in-house, turning to outside counsel only when crisis strikes.

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