QUÉBEC CITY—The Canadian holding company Cossette Communication Group has made its first serious foray into the U.S. public relations business by acquiring an 80 percent interest in PainePR, one of the country’s largest independent public relations firms with offices in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orange County.
PainePR has a team of 50 full-time employees and a client list that includesAmerican Suzuki, Archer Daniel Midland, DIRECTV, Ernst & Young, Duracell, JP Morgan Chase, Levi Strauss & Company’s Dockers brand, Novartis, Polaroid, Procter & Gamble (Pampers, Old Spice, Ivory, Metamucil and Zest), Toshiba America Medical Systems, and Unilever.
Paine is the second PR acquisition by Cossette in just over a month, following the addition of U.K.-based The Band & Brown Group, an 85-employee firm best known for its work in the technology sector. The two firms will work alongside Canadian firm Optimum Public Relations, and will be part of Cossette’s “convergent communications” offering—an integrated approach that includes advertising, direct and interactive.
“The acquisition of PainePR continues our U.S. growth strategy,” says Claude Lessard, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Cossette. “Our U.S. expansion began with the acquisition of Post & Partners in 2001 and Tarsitano Creative in 2003, now Cossette Post, the addition of an office for U.K.-based brand specialist Identica acquired in December 2003 and the creation of Thinking Sports, a joint business venture specializing in sports marketing and communications, in 2004.
“We can now also deliver spectacular public relations services in Canada through our Optimum Public Relations division, as well as in the U.K. with The Band & Brown Group and in the U.S. with PainePR.”
David Paine, founder and chief executive officer of PainePR, says his firm considered “many options in our search for the right strategic partner to help facilitate and support our longer-term business strategy. Cossette was far and away the best choice on many levels, including cultural compatibility, resources, quality and commitment to growth.
“We share a common understanding of the values and operational discipline that are most important in serving clients and nurturing creative minds. Our partnership with Cossette will enable us to meet the evolving needs of our clients, both in the United States and abroad, and allow us to take our unique culture and operating philosophy, client service excellence and creative strategic capabilities to a larger scale in the U.S. and internationally.”
The total purchase price is comprised of a closing payment and future payments based on the financial performance of PainePR over a period of four years. The closing payment and the payment of future consideration are expected to be mostly satisfied in cash.