Interpublic PR Unit Buys Swedish Firm

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Weber Shandwick, the public relations (:PR) unit of The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. (IPG), has recently acquired Swedish creative PR agency Prime and its business intelligence division United Minds.

Although the financial details were kept under wraps, the deal is reportedly billed as the largest acquisition by Weber Shandwick since its inception in 2001.
    
The Acquiree

Headquartered in Stockholm, the award-winning agency specializes in a broad spectrum of integrated marketing services, including business intelligence, public affairs, corporate communications, digital and social media and crisis management.

Prime has a diverse talent pool of analysts, planners and creative and media specialists, who have helped create its distinctive competence in pioneering concepts and activation programs.

Reportedly the biggest consumer PR firm in Sweden, Prime’s fee income for 2013 aggregated $30 million. Over the last few years, the firm has won several awards including 14 Cannes Lions, 14 SABRE awards, 11 Eurobests and five Clios. It has also established a niche market for its innovative brand campaigns.

Synergies

The deal will assist Prime in accelerating its international aspirations, with innovative marketing services aiding its globalization. Prime will gain access to Weber Shandwick’s worldwide client base, which will allow it to fashion innovative concepts and activation programs on an extensive scale.

From Weber Shandwick’s perspective, this acquisition will help it to expand its footprint in the Nordics, and allow it to exploit Prime’s award-winning creative talent.

In addition to capitalizing on Prime’s substantial local presence, Weber Shandwick also aims to leverage its business intelligence consulting firm United Minds for serving its own international clients.

Under an integrated managerial and creative talent pool, the synergies generated under the combined firm are expected to drive innovation further and improve client service.
    
Moving Ahead

Interpublic Group earmarks about $150 million a year for acquisitions, and had completed 11 strategic acquisitions last year. The company has finalized six deals so far in 2014, the most notable among them being the acquisition of digital company Profero in January.

Interpublic Group currently holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other better-ranked stocks in the Business Services sector that are worth considering include Convergys Corp. (CVG), EnerNOC, Inc. (ENOC) and ManpowerGroup Inc. (MAN). All of these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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