WPP buys Clinton re-election
polling and research firm
LONDON - WPP Group has acquired 100% of US strategic research and polling consultancy Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, which is best known for working on former president Bill Clinton's successful re-election campaign in 1996.
Earlier this month, the firm worked for New York City mayor elect Michael Bloomberg in his unexpected victory. It also worked for the other Clinton, having helped secure Hillary Clinton's senate victory in New York. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The acquisition of PS&B continues WPP's strategy of expanding into growth sectors and markets. It has bought a string of specialist firms this year, including contract publisher Forward. In the research sector, it bought French media-ratings firm JFC Informatique et Media in September.
Founded in 1973 and headquartered in Washington DC, PS&B employs 81 people across five locations -- Washington DC, New York, Denver, Aurora (Colorado) and Houston. The company had revenues of £21.9m for 2000 and net assets of £3m.
The consultancy is known for having developed innovative techniques for creating and getting across the message in business and politics. These methods were covered by Time magazine in a feature which called the agency "the masters of message".
However, the vast majority of the consultancy's work is corporate, relating to brand positioning and messaging. Corporate clients over the years have included AT&T, Coca-Cola, American Express, BP Novartis and Microsoft.
The firm will operate independently within WPP as a standalone public affairs unit and will continue to be managed by the three founders, Mark Penn, Doug Schoen and Michael Berland.
Penn, who runs the Washington DC office, has been profiled in the Washington Post, which called him one of Clinton's most important advisers.
Howard Paster, CEO of sister WPP PR agency network Hill & Knowlton, said, "Penn, Schoen and Berland has been successful in taking the research skills originally applied in the political arena and adapting them to corporate issues. PS&B brings to WPP a strategic consultancy with a built-in research capability. As such, it should integrate well with a range of existing WPP capabilities, including the leading public relations firms Hill & Knowlton and Burson-Marsteller and the identity and branding firms Brand Union and Landor."
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