Publicly held Huntsworth PLC, based in London, has purchased Dorland Global Corp., for $20 million in cash, extending the reach of its healthcare division into the US market.
The acquisition encompasses Dorland’s two units, Dorland Global Health Communications and Dorland Global Public Relations.
Ten shareholders, including co-founders Harry and Rita Sweeney, will share the $20,684,000 sale price for the previously independent agency. The deal also may include deferred compensation based on Dorland profits for the year ending Dec. 31, 2007, plus a final payment to be made based on three-year profits through 2010, Huntsworth said. The maximum price was capped at $50 million. Dorland reported 2006 gross profit of $3.5 million and gross assets of $11 million as of year end.
The existing management team will continue to operate the business, reporting to David Rowley, chief executive of Huntsworth Health.
Dorland will serve as a US footprint for the Huntsworth Health division, the largest healthcare firm in the UK providing PR, advertising, medical education and research services to European clients.
In an interview with MM&M, Rita Sweeney said being part of a larger agency will help Dorland "take on and pitch and win larger global accounts...that was the whole strategy to begin with."
Huntsworth PLC was founded by Lord Chadlington (Peter Gummer), who also created Shandwick, the precursor of Interpublic Group’s global PR agency Weber Shandwick.
Huntsworth has been building its European platform, Rowley said. The firm employs 110 people in the UK and operates a total of 60 principal offices in 30 countries in a significant majority of Western Europe and much of Eastern Europe. Its European healthcare network includes over 700 communications specialists from affiliated agencies.
"If you take our clients and Dorland's, we are working with just about every one of the world's top 40 or 50 pharmaceutical companies in one way or another," Rowley said. "Now we can start to leverage our capabilities."
Until the acquisition, Dorland had operated the largest independent US medical ad agency, established in 1971. The firm’s 150 employees are spread between offices in Philadelphia and San Francisco.