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Huntsworth acquires Context and BHI healthcare research firms

LONDON – Public relations group Huntsworth has acquired two pharmaceutical market research companies Context Research International and Brand Health International for £3m and £5m respectively.

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Founded in 1986, Context specialises in qualitative pharmaceutical market research in the UK. The Harpenden-based agency will continue under its existing management team, led by Jon Chandler and Mike Owen, but will operate under the Huntsworth Health brand.

BHI, launched in 2004 by Chandler, Owen and former Medefield research founder Peter Winters, delivers online quantitative surveys to healthcare professionals.

The agency will also operate under the Huntsworth Health banner and the existing management structure will stay in place. The £5m price tag will be payable in cash or shares at Huntworth options based on BHI profits to 2009.

David Rowley, chief executive of Huntsworth Health, said the acquisitions are part of the company's plan to build a global healthcare business.

"The acquisition of both Context and BHI further strengthens our healthcare market research capability, which when merged with our current healthcare business Root Research will provide a formidable research platform at a global level. The acquisitions support our stated strategy of building a global integrated healthcare business," he said.

Rowley and Huntsworth Health finance director James Bell will join the Context and BHI boards.

Huntsworth was merged with market research and PR holding company Incepta in a deal worth £195m earlier this year.

Huntsworth is the public relations holding company run by Shandwick founder Lord Chadlington. It owns PR agencies including Counsel, Grayling and Harrison Cowley.

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