The Abernathy MacGregor Group
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
News and insights from the global PR industry

The Abernathy MacGregor Group

Holmes Report

Specialist in transaction communications, crisis communications, investor relations and corporate and financial public relations

Adam L. Miller, 212-371-5999

New York and Los Angeles


It is 21 years since James Abernathy and James MacGregor launched The Abernathy MacGregor Group, one of the first public relations firms focused on the high-stakes world of financial communications, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions. While the field is more crowded today than it was then, AMG remains a leader, involved once again in many of the most important deals of the past 12 months: Viacom’s proposed acquisition of Dreamworks SKG; Comcast’s joint venture with Sprint Nextel and Time Warner; the Washington Mutual-Providian Financial merger; Adobe Systems’ pending acquisition of Macromedia.

                The key to the success is impressive bench strength: the two principals are joined at the top of the organization by 13-year veteran Adam Miller, who was named president in 2005, and a cadre of nine managing directors, many of whom have been with the firm for a decade or longer. Steven Bruce joined the firm when it was just three years old; Charles Burgess has been there 12 years, Michael Pascale 11, and Rhonda Barnat is celebrating a decade with AMG. That leaves Carina Thate (nine years), Jason Thompson (eight years) and the west coast team of Ian Campbell and James Lucas (eight years and six years respectively) as the relative newcomers. Throw in half a dozen senior vice presidents (including newcomer Tom Johnson, a former M&A editor at Reuters) and an equal number of counselors and advisors, and low turnover at every level of the organization, and it’s easy to see why AMG has so many long-term relationships at the highest level of major corporations.

                Last year saw healthy growth in the two practice areas where the firm has the highest profile: financial services and media and entertainment, and significant expansion in the manufacturing, transportation, energy and high technology sectors. The financial services practice works with longtime clients such as Bank of New York, Washington Mutual, and Wachovia and added Sovereign Bancorp (for Grupo Santendar’s minority investment and the acquisition of Independence Community Bank Corp), Ameriquest (a major regulatory and media relations assignment) and the New York Mercantile Exchange in 2005. The media and entertainment practice, led by Miller, advised Comcast on its acquisition of Adelphia, Loews Cineplex during its acquisition by AMC, and R.H. Donnelley on its merger with Dex Media, and added new clients including Entercom Communications.

                The firm’s West Coast office, based in Los Angeles, also continued its growth, attracting more than 30 new clients, including mid-cap and large-cap names in such diverse sectors as energy, health care, apparel, retailing, fashion, manufacturing, software, and financial services. On the international front, meanwhile, the AMO partnership between AMG, Maitland in the

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