- WPP Group has acquired Shire Hall Group, the largest independent healthcare communications consultancy in the UK in a move designed to advance WPP's strategy of expanding in the fast growing healthcare sector.
Shire Hall will retain its brand identity and management structure and will join WPP's Branding & Identity, Healthcare and Specialist Communications division.
London-based Shire Hall, founded in 1985, comprises three operating companies: Shire Hall Communications Limited which specialises in UK public relations, Shire Hall International Limited which handles international public relations and 4D Communications Limited which provides medical education.
Clients include Glaxo Wellcome, Astra Zeneca, SmithKline Beecham and Bristol-Myers Squibb. The Group employs 70 people. Shire Hall reported revenues of £4.3 million for the year ended 31 December 1998 and net assets of £158,000 at that date.
John Zweig, chief executive of WPP's Branding & Identity, Healthcare and Specialist Communications businesses, said, "What appeals to us beyond Shire Hall's clear leadership in the market it serves today is its expertise across media, audiences and geographies that will be so critical to healthcare marketing in the near future. We are delighted to have a company of Shire Hall's character and quality among the already strong healthcare marketing resources in WPP."