WPP has bolstered its stake in PBN Co., a major corporate/crisis/government relations player in the former Soviet Union, from 49.9 percent to 75 percent, a move that results in the new brand name of PBN Hill+Knowlton Strategies.

In 2007, Martin Sorrell’s ad/PR combine purchased a 49.9 percent stake in PBN, which has counseled clients such as Bank of America, BP, John Deere, Abbott, Xerox and Visa in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan and other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the former Soviet republics.

PBN’s management trio of Peter Necarsulmer, Susan Thurman and Myron Wasylyk now hold a 25 percent state in the revamped firm.

Jack Martin, CEO of H+K, said in a statement that PBN’s depth of expertise and relationships with governments/ business community/ and media “will serve our clients well in this dynamic part of the world.”

PBN launched 1983. H+K’s Moscow office will be merged into PBN. PBN’s D.C. office will be folded into H+K.