McCann stacking its flacks

Momentum gets bigger piece of publicity pie

NEW YORK — In a move that makes two Hollywood praiseries even more formidable, McCann-Erickson World Group has made an agreement to acquire PR firm Huvane Baum Halls in a seven-figure deal and will merge it with PMK.

The new entity will be called PMK/HBH, and the staff of Huvane Baum Halls will move into PMK’s recently-updated Beverly Hills and midtown Manhattan headquarters.

Deal gives McCann subsid Momentum an even larger piece of the global publicity pie: The company is part of the publicly-traded Interpublic Group, which also owns Shandwick (owner of Rogers & Cowan), the publicity firm Bragman Nyman Cafarelli, as well as the production/management company Industry Entertainment.

Stephen Huvane, Robin Baum and Simon Halls formed their firm six years ago, and collectively represent 125 clients that include Gwyneth Paltrow, Russell Crowe, Jude Law, Frances McDormand and director Ang Lee among others.

PMK, the partnership between Pat Kingsley, Leslee Dart and Lois Smith, reps 200 clients with a list that includes Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Johnny Depp, Matt Damon, Sandra Bullock and directors Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann and Cameron Crowe.

McCann-Erickson vice chairman Mark Dowley, who oversaw the deal and the acquisition of PMK two years ago, said he saw beyond the stars to observe two firms with compatible management and assets.

“We have enjoyed success professionally and financially beyond our wildest expectations with PMK and in talking to Pat, Leslee and Lois about additional expansion, they all pointed out the young group at HBH,” said Dowley.

Momentum is primarily devoted to what Dowley called experiential branding. Working for productmakers like Anheuser-Busch, GM and Microsoft, Momentum creates brand awareness through sponsorships, brand experience campaigns and other non-advertising promotions.

“You try to plan five to 10 years ahead, and just four years ago, advertising assets comprised 97% of revenue for the McCann-Erickson World Group,” said Dowley. “Since then, marketing services (including P.R. firms) now make up 35% of our revenue, with billings of about $8 billion. It has been a tremendous growth industry.”

Dowley said the management structure of PMK/HBH will be led by Kingsley, who’ll be managing partner. Dart and Smith will be deputy managing partners, while Huvane, Baum and Halls will be managing directors. PMK currently has 50 staffers servicing its 200 clients, while HBH has 15 employees managing its 125 clients. Though the staffs will be consolidated, Dowley said there are no plans for layoffs.

Leaping ahead

“As far as PMK is concerned, this is an opportunity to take a really giant leap forward, with people we are fond of and respect,” said Kingsley.Dart added that the HBH team “was most closely aligned philosophically with our way of doing things than any firm out there.” As for Huvane and Halls, the pair said they were “honored to be asked to be part of a team that has such a strong reputation.”

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