LONDON—Frank PR, one of the hottest consumer marketing public relations firms in the U.K., has been acquired by Australian marketing services company Photon Group for an initial payment of A$18.5 million (£8.2 million) plus deferred payments tied to performance targets.
Frank PR was named Marketing Magazine’s PR Agency of the Year in 2005 and 2006, the only public relations agency to receive the award twice, and has seen its fees double over the past two years to £4 million. Clients include Birds Eye, Brylcreem, Budweiser, Flora, Foot Locker, HP Sauce, Kellogg’s, the National Union of Students, Nickelodeon, Pizza Express, Slim-Fast, Swatch, and Virgin Money, and span the FMCG, leisure, fashion, lifestyle, consumer technology and personal finance sectors.
According to Photon executive chairman Tim Hughes: “The acquisition of Frank PR is an excellent launch pad for an entry into the U.K.’s rapidly expanding specialized communications market.”
Photon is a marketing services company with five divisions: strategic intelligence, integrated communications and digital, field marketing, internet marketing and communications and specialized communications. The latter is home to the company’s public relations operations, which include CPR, a specialist in corporate, financial, and crisis communications; Kinetics, focused on the technology sector; and MarksonSparks Publicity, a media relations firm. All three are based in Australia.
But the firm had previously acquired The Leading Edge and DVL Smith in the research space, REL in the field marketing sector and Corporate Edge, a specialised communications business, all in the U.K., and Hughes says “the strategy in the U.K. is to build a market position in the lower risk, high margin and well managed businesses focusing on the research, public relations and field marketing sectors.
“These sectors generally display less volatility than traditional advertising agencies and have clearly defined operating systems and intellectual property that can be shared across international markets.”
Frank PR chairman and founder Graham Goodkind says: “Photon is a fast-growing young company like ourselves and we feel they are the right partner to expand the business further. We will continue to focus on doing what we do best: bringing our passionate approach to working with clients, creating memorable campaigns and achieving excellent results.”