10 public relations companies that are prime M&A targets in 2021, according to experts

Greg Galant, Muck Rack

Summary List Placement

Public relations industry experts predict M&A will ramp up in 2021 as the economy improves.

PR firms are eyeing acquisitions in healthcare communications, which has been a consistent source of growth, as evidenced by financial communications firm ICR’s acquisition of Westwick Partners in 2019.

Deals like BCW’s 2018 acquisition of HZDG, which specializes in branding, advertising and digital, and W2O’s 2021 acquisition of Swoop, a data analytics company, show agencies also have an appetite for digital expertise and data analytics to inform and measure their campaigns.

After the pandemic had a cooling effect on M&A in PR software in 2020, deals are likely to pick up in 2021, said Chris Porter, an associate at Burton-Taylor Consulting, which analyzes the media intelligence industry.

Insider asked seven PR industry executives and consultants which firms and software companies could be hot acquisition targets in 2021. To be clear, none of these people said these companies were actually in talks.

Most of these companies either declined to comment or said they weren’t interested in a deal.

Below are 10 companies they named, listed in alphabetical order. Where available, their financial information is provided.


Recent troubles at China-based marketing giant BlueFocus has jumpstarted chatter across the PR industry, with one insider saying its stagnant stock price makes it particularly ripe for acquisition.

Market headwinds forced BlueFocus to shelf its plans to list subsidiary Blue Impact on the New York Stock Exchange via a merger with a SPAC called Legacy.

BlueFocus continues to own Blue Impact, a 2,400-person group with international assets like PR firm Citizen Relations and creative agency We Are Social, according to ProvokeMedia.

BlueFocus recorded annual revenue of $329 million in 2019. Its clients include Samsung, P&G, and Tencent.

Brunswick Group

1,200-person Brunswick Group is one of the biggest financial communications agencies in the world, with $324 million annual revenue, according to PRovokeMedia.

But Brunswick has had a bruising few years, starting in 2017 with the exit of Steve Lipin, who built the firm’s mergers and acquisitions practice. In 2018, women accused founder and chairman Alan Parker of allowing sexual harassment and bullying at nonprofit group Save the Children, where he served as chairman before resigning that year.

Brunswick declined to comment for this article.

However, the agency is clawing its way back, hiring prominent PR pros like Jonathan Doorley to revamp the mergers and acquisitions practice and CNBC’s Nik Deogun as CEO of the Americas and US senior partner.

Industry experts say Brunswick Group could be an acquisition target because of its strong financial communications business and because Parker hasn’t announced his personal plans.

Day One Agency

Six-year-old Day One bills itself as a “creative communications” firm, running campaigns that integrate social media, PR, and digital elements.

Along with an attractive client list, the company’s creative strengths would be valuable to PR agencies looking to grow outside traditional communications.

It helped Motorola launch its Razr flip phone, using a short film starring “Ozark” actress Julia Garner, a virtual premier, and promoted social media posts, according to PRWeek.

Day One’s other biggest clients include American …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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