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Omnicom acquires FP1 Strategies and PLUS Communications

In an interview, Nelson, managing partner of FP1 and PLUS, said a key consideration among company executives was the extent to which Omnicom’s platform not only provided an enhanced offering for the customer list company’s existing assets, but also the opportunity “to take the company to the next level.

“I think it offers that kind of partnership,” he said, adding, “We work with big brands in our own business, but Omnicom will give us the opportunity to work with an even wider group of client companies.”

“It was a very easy decision,” he said.

Omnicom Public Relations Group’s public affairs portfolio already includes several large DC companies, such as Mercury Public Affairs, DDC Public Affairs, GMMB, Portland Communications and VOX Global.

Adding FP1 Strategies and PLUS to the mix only “complements and takes our business to the next level, not only in the fields of politics, but also in the fields of health, technology, communications of crisis and business,” said Chris Foster, Global CEO of Omnicom Public Relations Group.

For Foster, Thursday’s announcement is a signal that Omnicom PR is “optimistic about our industry,” even in the face of economic uncertainty that has hit the communications sector particularly hard over the past year. due to a slowdown in advertising. “(We) believe in the power of communications,” he added, “but more so, regardless of the broader macroeconomic climate, public affairs and business are areas of growth for us.”

Plus, argues DenHerder, managing partner at PLUS, there’s less and less light between political communications strategy and corporate communications due to the rise of partisan culture warfare. “Listen, we all know East politics today, right? he told POLITICO.

The Omnicom acquisition harkens back to a bygone era on K Street — the early 2010s — when communications conglomerates and international holding companies like Omnicom and WPP bought up government affairs firms left and right.

These transactions have had mixed results – with some acquired companies struggling or even closing after the departure of their managers.

An Omnicom holding company, Mercury, saw an exodus of some of its top lobbyists in 2021 amid a dispute over company ownership. A year earlier, what was then Glover Park Group had merged with two other WPP properties in a deal that saw the new company’s management buy out almost half of its stake in its parent company.

The consolidation of DC’s political and advisory business has continued in recent years — only now it’s being fueled by a windfall of private equity investment, with investors betting that political and social controversies will continue to seep into corporate boards – and will therefore keep the consultancy-class business going.

DenHerder said it was Omnicom’s willingness to oppose this dynamic that helped bring the deal to fruition. “Omnicom had a vision to get back into this space, to continue to develop what is already a good public affairs offering when many companies weren’t,” he said.

But DenHerder pointed to another reason they chose to sell to a communications conglomerate.

“I’ve known Chris for a very long time,” said DenHerder, who worked with Foster at a WPP-owned company years ago. “He knows politics. He knows communications. He knows public affairs, and when it comes to private equity, they only know one thing: finance.”

“(C)it was really exciting to have a partner who not only fundamentally understands our business, but does it,” he added. “I think that was a really big motivation for us as well, he’s a partner who’s in the trenches with us, not sitting in New York, just counting, you know, the pros and cons.”