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Omnicom Group’s Ketchum Acquires ICON International Communications in Singapore

November 13, 2013 Corporate No Comments Email Email

Leading global communications firm Ketchum, a unit of Omnicom Group, today announced its acquisition of ICON International Communications, Singapore’s largest independently owned public relations consultancy.

Given the strong reputation of ICON in the region, the Singapore firm will be branded Ketchum ICON. ICON’s Australian and Indonesian operations, which are owned and led by Phil Burfurd and Chris Gray, will continue to operate as part of Ketchum’s exclusive affiliate network.

“With an extraordinary growth trajectory, Singapore is a market of significant strategic importance to Ketchum’s multinational client base, many of which have regional headquarters in the country, and it is vital that we continue to evolve our business in a way that complements their needs,” said Rob Flaherty, senior partner and CEO of Ketchum. “We already work closely with ICON to service some of our largest and most geographically diverse clients in the Asia-Pacific region. Operating as part of one firm greatly enhances our combined ability to provide clients with local knowledge and international expertise, service and support.”

This acquisition further builds on Ketchum’s significant expansion in the Asia-Pacific region in recent years, providing an even stronger platform from which to service global and regional clients. In 2011, the firm acquired a majority position in its long-established Greater China operations as well as in India, both areas where Ketchum has broad national reach and deep expertise. In late September, Ketchum merged with South Korea-based InComm Brodeur, adding additional resources in another key Asian market. Also of note in the region is Ketchum’s exclusive affiliation with Hakuhodo in Tokyo, one of the largest integrated marketing firms in Japan.

“Ketchum and ICON have built a strong relationship over the past five years, and our colleagues have enjoyed successful collaborations on client and new business opportunities. We share the same values, have similar cultures and have a common goal of helping our clients achieve business success,” said Rob Lorfink, senior partner, president and chief operating officer of Ketchum. “ICON is the market leader in Singapore. Their award-winning work is among the best in our global network, and they have unparalleled depth and scale in the market. We’re looking forward to working together even more closely.”

Since launching in Singapore in 2005, ICON offers clients strategic counsel in the areas of corporate communications, marketing communications, media relations, social media, and issues and crisis management. ICON has built a strong portfolio of blue-chip multinational clients, including some of the world’s most respected companies and brands. ICON Singapore was named Specialist Consultancy of the Year atPublicAffairsAsia’s 2012 Gold Standard Awards, and also won Marketing Magazine’s 2013 Local Hero Awardfor Best Locally Owned PR Agency.

Although a full-service agency, ICON Singapore has been recognized for its considerable crisis management capabilities, due largely to its exclusive partnership with Kenyon International Emergency Services. The partnership integrates ICON’s corporate communications expertise and market knowledge with Kenyon’s unrivalled experience as the world’s largest disaster management company. ICON regularly conducts training and other consultancy services for Kenyon clients across the Asia-Pacific region and further afield, while Kenyon provides its unique capabilities to ICON clients, through a single point of contact. This complements Ketchum’s existing partnership with Kenyon, which was created in 2012 to deliver the first truly integrated global crisis, disaster management and communications offer.

ICON Singapore’s managing director is John Bailey, a former journalist who started his PR career with an agency in Hong Kong. Bailey will continue to lead the Singapore business, reporting to Jon Higgins, senior partner and CEO, International, for Ketchum.

Bailey said, “Our Singapore operation rapidly established itself as one of the leading mid-sized independent agencies in a very crowded market. Joining forces with a global powerhouse like Ketchum will help us to take our business even further, in the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere.”

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