Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Edelman grabs top slot in Silicon Valley PR

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 30, 2006


Edelman, the world's largest privately held PR firm late last week announced it had acquired A&R Partners--a deal that creates Silicon Valley's largest PR firm.

It's part of a series of aggressive, strategic moves by Richard Edelman, the CEO of Edelman. Mr Edelman has also been acquiring the PR industry's top bloggers, such as Steve Rubel, who writes Micro Persuasion, and Phil Gomes. Plus a recent deal with Technorati will extend Edelman's ability to monitor the blogosphere internationally.

The acquisition of A&R comes at a time when the demand for PR services is rising rapidly as Silicon Valley VC firms fund a new generation of what some call "Web 2.0" companies. The large number of such companies is increasing the noise level which makes it difficult for them to attract attention without professional help.

Large Silicon Valley tech companies are also increasing their PR spend as traditional forms of advertising are slipping in their effectiveness because of the turmoil in the media sector. Traditional and trade media publications are transitioning to online business models but the change is disruptive and there are fewer publications.

Public relations is potentially more cost effective than some forms of advertising. Intel recently boosted its PR spending with several deals spanning its global markets.

Pam Pollace, who used to head Intel's communications team is now at Edelman as director of the US Technology Practice.

Here are some of the details from the press release:

Edelman Acquires A&R Partners, Emerges As a National Leader in Tech Public Relations
Friday May 26, 10:00 am ET
Deal combines largest independent global PR firm with leading independent technology agency in San Francisco Bay Area


NEW YORK, May 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Edelman, the world's largest independent public relations firm, announced today that it has acquired A&R Partners, Silicon Valley's largest independent technology PR firm. The move significantly expands Edelman's global tech practice and makes it the leading agency in the San Francisco Bay Area and one of the largest technology practices in the state.
Edelman's Mountain View office will merge into A&R's San Mateo headquarters, creating a nexus of technology PR expertise to serve clients throughout the world. The combined Silicon Valley operations will be called A&R Edelman.

The acquisition of 115-person A&R includes its offices in San Mateo, San Diego, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Denver, Portland and Louisville.

"Edelman has excellent technology clients; we have done strong work in technology for decades. Our goal is to play a global leadership role in this market. With this acquisition, technology will become our third largest practice after consumer and healthcare. A&R Edelman catalyzes our global technology team, creating instant global technology communications leadership," said Richard Edelman, Edelman's CEO.

The integration of A&R will push Edelman's annual revenues to more than $300 million globally and $200 million in the U.S. The combination of the two agencies will create one of California's largest technology practices. Edelman currently has California offices in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco and Mountain View.

Bob Angus and Zelda Rudin founded A&R Partners in 1986. The agency has ranked #1 in revenue in Silicon Valley for the past four years and has received several prominent industry awards, including PR Week's Mid-sized Agency of the Year and the Holmes Report Tech Agency of the Year, both in 2004. The company also has consistently ranked among the top PR agencies to work for in the U.S. by The Holmes Report.

Bob Angus, A&R's president, said, "Our decision to join with Edelman is all about extending our global reach, adding new services and practices for our clients and giving our people more opportunities for growth. At the same time we will help move Edelman's tech practice into a leadership position in the U.S. Edelman is an outstanding fit for us, both strategically and culturally. We share the same vision, interest in our people and passion for results."

"They think like we think. We have known A&R and Bob Angus for years; we share a common approach to our business," said Pam Talbot, Edelman's U.S. CEO.

Talbot will oversee A&R's acquisition by Edelman, and A&R's president Angus will report to her as president, A&R Edelman. He will also become director of Edelman's U.S. technology practice, working closely with Pam Pollace, president of Edelman's global technology practice.

Pollace said, "This acquisition will expand our strong tech practice, strengthen our global credentials and extend our experience across the board -- in mobile computing, digital entertainment, social networks, enterprise software, semiconductors, security and beyond. This will create new growth opportunities for Edelman in a revitalized technology PR sector."

Edelman is the world's largest independent public relations firm, with 2,000 employees in 45 offices worldwide. AdvertisingAge recently named Edelman as the best PR firm in its 2005 "Best Agencies" issue while PR Week awarded the firm its "Editor's Choice" distinction at the start of 2006 and named it best large agency of the year. Edelman's network includes four specialty firms -- Blue (advertising), First&42nd (management consulting), StrategyOne (research) and BioScience Communications (medical education and publishing) -- making it possible to provide clients with a comprehensive spectrum of communications services. Visit www.edelman.com for more information.


Key Facts:

A&R Partners Edelman

Revenue 2005 $14.1 million $261 million

% Revenue
growth over
2004 17.6% 13.6%

Founded 1986 1952

Management President and Managing Founder and Chairman -
Partner - Bob Angus Daniel J. Edelman
Sr. Partner - Zelda Rudin Global CEO - Richard Edelman
Sr. Partner - Maria Amundson US CEO - Pam Talbot
Partner - Lisa Auslen Vice Chairman - Leslie Dach
Partner - John Derryberry President, Global
Partner - Todd Irwin Technology Practice -
Partner - Mark Rawlins Pam Pollace

Staff 115 2000 (21 Silicon Valley)

Offices San Mateo(HQ), New Co-headquartered in the
York, Washington D.C., U.S. in New York and
Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, with offices in
Denver, Portland and other major U.S. cities
Louisville -- 45 offices Globally

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