WPP has entered a deal, subject to regulatory approval, to acquire public-affairs and government-relations firm The Glover Park Group in the U.S.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but people close to the matter indicated to Ad Age that the firm has been on the block for at least a year. According to the company, GPG's total assets as of Sept. 30, 2011 were approximately $75 million in the U.S.
Founded in 2001, GPG employs more than 140 people and has offices in Washington, D.C.; New York; Los Angeles and Boulder, Colo. Many of the staff have held leadership positions in the U.S. House and Senate and the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations, and have run electoral campaigns. Former GPG partner Joe Lockhart recently left the firm to become Facebook's VP of corporate communications.
The acquisition marks another move by WPP to shore up its public-affairs capabilities for clients. One year ago, the holding company acquired Blue State Digital, the agency that led Barack Obama's online fundraising and social-networking effort in the 2008 presidential election.
WPP also owns Burson-Marsteller and Ogilvy PR Worldwide -- agencies known for their strong public-affairs units. And the merger last year of Public Strategies and Hill & Knowlton is another step towards WPP elevating its prowess when it comes to that area of expertise. When Public Strategies president and CEO Dan Bartlett took the reins at H&K U.S., and MarComms lead MaryLee Sachs and CMO Tony Burgess-Webb departed the firm, industry executives said that H&K would begin to look like a much more public-affairs-oriented firm.
All told, WPP, a European giant, is certainly getting a lot more connected in D.C.