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WPP Acquires US Researcher PSB

December 10 2001

WPP has recently acquired full control of Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, Inc., (PS&B), a US strategic research and polling consultancy headquartered in Washington DC.

The acquired agency employs 81 people across five locations, Washington DC, New York, Denver, Aurora (Colorado) and Houston. The company had revenues of US $31.4 million for the calendar year 2000 and net assets of $4.3 million as at 31 December 2000. Its services include research-based strategic counsel for corporations and associations, and political polling and strategy. The vast majority of the company's work has been in brand positioning and messaging, and especially in helping businesses fend off competitive challenges.

PS&B's most well-known campaigns arguably include its work on President Bill Clinton's successful re-election campaign in 1996, and the election of Senator Hillary Clinton in New York. The firm has been successful in the elections of 15 international heads of state. More recently the firm worked for New York City Mayor-elect Michael Bloomberg in his upset victory earlier this month.

The company will operate independently within WPP as a stand-alone public affairs unit and will continue to be managed by Mark Penn and Doug Schoen and Michael Berland, the three principals. It will continue to do work in both the political and non-political areas.

Commenting on the acquisition, Howard Paster, CEO of sister WPP agency Hill and Knowlton said, 'Penn, Schoen and Berland has been successful in taking the research skills originally applied in the political arena and adapting them to corporate issues including brand identification and enhancement, issues management and executive positioning. PS&B brings to WPP a strategic consultancy with a built-in research capability. As such it should integrate well with a range of existing WPP capabilities, including the leading public relations firms Hill and Knowlton and Burson-Marsteller and the identity and branding firms Brand Union and Landor.'

Mark Penn added, 'We believe that working together with WPP we will achieve tremendous growth, and be able to bring our skills and methods to a broader array of clients and important situations worldwide. We will continue to offer a unique blend of corporate and political services, enabling us to take the best practices from each and meld them into winning campaigns of all types.'

All articles 2006-22 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.

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