WASHINGTON, DC—High-profile DC public affairs firm Qorvis is to become part of MSLGroup after being acquired by Publicis Groupe.
The deal sees Publicis acquire 100% of the public affairs agency, which has grown to become one of the largest in the US capital. Founded by managing partner Michael Petruzello, Qorvis brings 80 employees and some much-needed public affairs heft to MSLGroup's US operations.
As part of the Qorvis acquisition, MSLGroup also acquires the Clarus Research Group. The new entity will operate under the name of Qorvis MSLGroup with Petruzzello as president. He will also serve as the agency's North America practice director for Public Affairs and will report to MSLGroup North America president Renee Wilson.
Qorvis is probably best known for its representation of foreign governments. Some of these assignments have proved controversial, particularly its work for Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Equatorial Guinea. In 2011, a number of partners left the business, but have since been replaced.
"The acquisition of Qorvis allows us to bring our clients around the world important new relationships and capabilities inside the Beltway and beyond," said Wilson.
Qorvis joins a number of corporate and public affairs acquisitions that MSLGroup has made in recent years, including Sweden's JKL; Germany's CNC; Capital MSL in the UK; and US firm Kekst.
"This acquisition makes us much stronger in Washington DC, and a highly engaged player in top economic, public affairs and government issues on the global stage," said MSLGroup global CEO Olivier Fleurot.
The deal also maintains MSLGroup's hectic pace of acquisition. The agency has acquired 11 new businesses since Publicis Groupe reorganized its PR operations under the MSLGroup brand.