HONG KONG—Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide , moving to capitalize on the rapid growth of Greater China stock market IPO and merger and acquisition activity, has added to its financial communications expertise in the region by acquiring a majority stake in the Hong Kong-based communications firm iPR Asia.
iPR, a specialist in financial PR in Greater China, has managed 20 percent of the initial public offerings on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange so far this year.
“This strengthening of our Ogilvy PR financial offering comes at a time when we’re seeing a confluence of powerful forces in the market,” said Christopher Graves, president of Ogilvy PR in the Asia-Pacific region. “China is bringing more companies to the equity markets—some $17 billion worth expected this year—and many will be listed in Hong Kong. Meanwhile private equity funds have raised billions to buy into Chinese companies.”
This year, two of the largest initial public offerings in the world were Chinese companies that listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and cross-border M&A activity in Asia is on the increase. Deals involving Chinese companies either as a target or as a bidder so far in 2005 have already amounted to $27 billion—twice the amount of the full year 2004.
Last year, Ogilvy Financial, Ogilvy PR’s specialized financial practice, led communications for Lenovo’s acquisition of the IBM Personal Computing Division and this year handled communications for Focus Media’s successful Nasdaq listing.
And iPR has managed the total preparation and communications process for 79 companies listed in Hong Kong since 1999, according to Ellen Kong, managing director and founder. “Our role is to help prepare them to be publicly traded companies and prepare for the world stage. The listing day is but one big event for a company. We currently retain more than 80 percent of our listing clients for years after the listing and continue to counsel them on effective investor relations and media strategies.”
iPR represents such leading Chinese and Hong Kong companies as China Minsheng Bank, Shanghai Electric, China Oilfield Services, Shanghai Forte Land, Yanzhou Coal, Lianhua Supermarket, SMIC, Clear Media, Li Ning, Yue Yuen Industrial, Lifestyle International, Sa Sa and Playmates.