SWK purchases EPB to create new £30m billing agency in UK

Summerfield Wilmot Keene has bought EPB Communications, whose

accounts include the electrical appliance manufacturer Kenwood, Marriott

Hotels and Corus, to create what is claimed will be a £30 million

billing agency.



SWK is paying an undisclosed sum for EPB, formed 18 months ago when the

US agency group Earl Palmer Brown merged its London agency, The Square,

with Buckfield Lord.



Under the deal, SWK will become the UK strategic partner of EPB's

holding company, the Panoramic Group, and give it access to New Edge, a

federation of eight European agencies that covers 14 markets, of which

SWK is a member.



SWK's chairman, Malcolm Summerfield, said: "Not only does EPB have some

talented people who will fit well here but it works with its clients in

the same way that we do. We both get involved in the total

communications process."



The takeover throws up no account conflicts, although Summerfield

acknowledged there might be a "handful" of redundancies.



The EPB name will disappear and its staff will transfer to the SWK

offices.



EPB's director of PR, Colin Borg, will join the SWK board with

responsibility for internal and external communications.



SWK has had a chequered history since its formation six years ago. In

1998 it pulled out of a proposed merger with the Osprey group and spent

just a year as part of 10 Group before buying itself out.



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