Stagwell Group Acquires Nielsen's Harris Brand and Poll

Stagwell Expects $250 Million in Revenue from Its Five Shops by End of Year

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Stagwell Group President Mark Penn
Stagwell Group President Mark Penn Credit: Courtesy The Stagwell Group
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The Stagwell Group, founded by former Microsoft executive Mark Penn, has acquired Nielsen's Harris brand and the Harris Poll through its Stagwell Media fund.

Through the deal, Stagwell will relaunch Harris, which was founded in 1963, as Harris Insights & Analytics, while the Harris Poll brand will remain the same. Harris, with clients such as CNN, People, ESPN, FedEx, IBM, Amazon, General Mills and Ford, will focus on brand management, corporate reputation, consumer packaged goods, public opinion and consumer experience research.

Bringing Harris into the mix gives Stagwell Group "tremendous polling, research and analytics capabilities," said Mark Penn, president and managing partner of The Stagwell Group and former pollster to President Bill Clinton. He added that he's looking forward to bringing a new chapter to Harris, which was originally founded by Lou Harris, former pollster to President John F. Kennedy, and later acquired by Wirthlin Worldwide, founded by former President Ronald Reagan pollster Richard Wirthlin.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Mr. Penn said details about Harris' leadership structure will be announced in a few weeks, but there will be an 18-month transition period for employees.

Mr. Penn added that the acquisition – the holding company's fifth since October 2015 – is expected to bring Stagwell Group's revenue up to $250 million by the end of the year. In August, the company bought a majority stake in global marketing shop PMX Agency, formerly Paradysz & PM Digital, which came about seven months after acquiring a majority stake in creative digital agency Code and Theory.

Stagwell Group's portfolio also includes strategic communications firm SKDKnickerbocker and entertainment research firm National Research Group.

When asked about additional acquisitions this year, Mr. Penn said the company has "a healthy pipeline coming to fruition."

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