PR company Freud poised to buy ad agency DFGW

Public relations company Freud Communications is buying independent advertising agency DFGW.

The Publicis Groupe-owned PR outfit has confirmed it is in talks to acquire DFGW, with a completed deal expected later this week. It is not known how much Freud is paying for the business although an insider says the sum is “not enormous”.

The deal for the agency follows the failed merger talks with Lowe London last year (MW December 8, 2006). At the time, Lowe was expected to acquire DFGW, but the deal was shelved in the aftermath of Lowe’s biggest client Tesco firing the agency after a 16-year partnership.

Under the new deal, DFGW joint managing directors Tom Vick and Hugh Cameron are expected to move with the business although terms have yet to be agreed. No redundancies will be made, according to Freud. DFGW will move to the same building as Freud and will pool its planning department with the communication house’s.

A Freud spokesman confirms that the DFGW brand will remain and says it will run as a separate unit within the PR agency, apart from the shared planning function. Freuds currently has a corporate PR division; consumer brand PR; a television, film and entertainment arm and international offices.

He says the advertising business will share “some synergies” with its existing operations and will offer its clients a one-stop shop.

Rumours have circulated about the future of DFGW for some time, with its partners said to be “wanting to sell”. It is also believed to have been in talks with a direct marketing agency and a digital shop at an earlier stage. Clients include charity British Red Cross, Cow & Gate baby food brand owner Nutricia, which is under review, and Toshiba, also under review and which the agency has declined to repitch.

The agency, previously known as Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters was created in 1989 when Gold Greenlees Trott deputy creative directors Dave Waters and Paul Grubb joined with Gary Duckworth, former planning director at HDM Horner Collis and Kirvan, and Yellowhammer new business director Micky Finn.

The agency launched with a TV campaign heralding its start. The venture was financed entirely by the founding members.

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