MIDDLEBERG ACQUIRES G.S. SCHWARTZ
Middleberg Communications has acquired G.S. Schwartz & Co., the New York firm founded by 44-year PR veteran Jerry Schwartz.
Schwartz told O’Dwyer’s he has known CEO Don Middleberg for several years and approached him a few months ago about taking on Schwartz clients and staff.
“When you have a 30-year history in your firm, you don’t just walk away one day and close,” said Schwartz, 64, who will take a senior counseling role with Middleberg. “Don presented a wonderful opportunity and I feel secure in transitioning our clients and staff over to him.”
Middleberg said he and Schwartz have been “friendly competitors” for years. “I was very flattered when he came to me,” he said.
Schwartz’ firm had revenue of $3.8M last year with clients like Anheuser-Busch, Hallmark, the Toy Industry Association and Dow Jones & Co.
Middleberg, who sold his 150-staffer tech firm to Euro RSCG in 2000, opened MC in 2006. The firm has made a series of smaller acquisitions, including the Dowd Agency and The Weiser Group in 2009, and TowersGroup in 2006. Two principals of Towers who joined MC after that deal – Scott Sunshine and Andrew Healey -- recently left the firm to set up their own shop, Water & Wall Group. MC has about 20 staffers and revenue in the $3M range.
“I have a longer view of what I want to do with writing and other things, but in the short term I will work with Don,” said Schwartz, who started out in PR as a writer and press relations staffer for the American Stock Exchange.
He later moved to Harshe-Rotman & Druck in the mid-1970s before setting up his firm in 1981.
MONTEREY SEEKS TRAVEL PR PITCHES
California’s Monterey County has opened an RFP process to guide travel and tourism PR for the region.
The Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau is conducting the review process following last month’s implementation of a new strategic plan.
The CVB wants an established travel and tourism PR agency to develop a communications plan, focus on high-profile media opportunities, and run media tours of the county all in support of its two-person in-house PR staff. The CVB said it will entertain pitches with fee estimates in the $5K-a-month range for a contract that could stretch through mid-2015.
KOLI Communications recently concluded a PR pact with the CVB. The RFP, released July 20, is open through Aug. 10. Details: http://bit.ly/NfbXIt.
IPG PR POSTS STRONG GAINS IN ‘HEADWINDS’
Interpublic reported second quarter organic growth in the U.S. declined 3.2% amid “headwinds” from losses in 2011 and fell 0.8% across the ad/PR conglomerate, but its PR operation bucked that trend with strong gains for the quarter.
Overall IPG revenue for Q2 fell 1.4% over 2011 to $1.7B, including a 3.7% drop in the U.S. to $950.9M. Net income slid 3.1% to $105.5M in Q2.
But IPG’s Constituency Management Group, which includes PR units like Weber Shandwick and GolinHarris, saw organic revenue climb 8% (8.7% overall) during Q2. Its advertising-laden Integrated Agency Networks fell .5% organically and -3.3% overall to $1.4B. PR on its own saw organic growth of 5.7% (7.2% overall) during the quarter and an increase of 4.2% organically for the first six months of the year.
Harris Diamond, CEO of the CMG unit, singled out Weber Shandwick, DeVries and GH for strong performances in the quarter and said PR is capitalizing on opportunities it didn’t have in the past to pitch against other disciplines for business. He said PR showed continued strength across the board with only “softness” in public affairs, a typical dropoff ahead of a presidential election which came earlier than in previous cycles.
Chairman and CEO Michael Roth said the global economic situation remains uncertain and will require “vigilance” through the rest of 2012, but he maintains IPG’s goal of 3% organic revenue growth for the year. “Once again, we demonstrated the ability to effectively manage the business so as to improve profitability, despite these headwinds,” he said.
Latin America and Asia Pacific boosted earnings with organic growth of 27.2% and 14.3%, respectively.
REUTERS’ PELOFSKY MOVES TO KETCHUM
Jeremy Pelofsky, legal and federal correspondent for Reuters, has moved to the PR realm as a VP and media strategist in Ketchum’s D.C. office.
Pelofsky, who has registered to work PR for Ketchum’s lucrative Gazprom Russian energy account, was with Reuters for the past 15 years, covering various elements of the federal government, including the recent Bush White House, Federal Communications Commission, Justice Dept. and Congress.
Earlier, he covered the International Monetary Fund and World Bank beat for Bloomberg News.
Ketchum is part of Omnicom.