Kathy Bloomgarden, Steve Cody

Ruder Finn has acquired Peppercomm, a firm that reported $9.2M in 2021 fee income for the 58th slot on O'Dwyer's rankings of PR firms.

Peppercomm's 29 employees in New York, San Francisco and London handle accounts such as Dole Sunshine Co, MINI Cooper, Xero and Trivago.

The firm, which is led by Steve Cody, is noted for its "Change Agent" humor-led training programs.

Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO of Ruder Finn, told O'Dwyer's the deal came about after she had a conversation with Cody on a different matter. "We started talking and it became clear that our firms shared common goals and culture," she said. "Ruder Finn and Peppercomm are a good fit."

She says Peppercomm's Change Agent humor-led training program is well-suited in these uncertain and stressful times as the nation struggles to emerge from the pandemic.

She sees strong synergies between the Change Agent approach and Ruder Finn's "what's next vision" concept. "Their combination of powerful emotional mindset and sentiment analytics, combined with breakthrough creative, expands on and deepens our core capabilities, while their unique understanding of how to leverage humor in business gives us a new competitive edge in our ability to break down communications barriers, stimulate thinking and drive change," said Bloomgarden.

Cody will continue to lead Peppercomm and report to Bloomgarden, who expects no redundancies or layoffs following the deal.

Ruder Finn, which has 860 employees, is No. 8 in O'Dwyer's rankings, with fees of $112.2M during the past year.