STOCKHOLM — Edelman is to shutter its Swedish operation, four years after acquiring one of the market's top creative players — Deportivo. 

The firm's decision to consult with unions regarding the closure of the 20-person operation comes after it sustained significant losses in 2017. Deportivo founders Mattias Ronge, Stefan Ronge and Anders Hallen will continue to oversee Edelman's creative offering from London, after shifting to that market last year.

"Edelman Deportivo continues to set new creative standards in the region and beyond since we began our journey together when we acquired the firm just four years ago," said Edelman EMEA CEO Carol Potter.

"With many of our regional and global clients now hubbed out of London and following the successful integration of Deportivo into the UK business last year, it is a natural progression that we further embed Deportivo’s capabilities for clients across our region and beyond."

The firm added that it had decided to withdraw from Sweden following "an extensive review of clients' needs and business priorities." Edelman Deportivo remains one of EMEA's top creative players, shortlisted for Creative Consultancy of the Year honours earlier this year, but with much of its work now led from London.

The decision means that Edelman has withdrawn from four European countries in the past three years, after shutting down in Russia in 2016, and exiting Poland and Turkey one year later. 

Sweden has long proved a tough market for international PR firms. Aside from Weber Shandwick, which acquired market leader Prime, few have been able to keep pace with the country's domestic heavyweights. 

Meanwhile, Edelman has expanded its European footprint via a series of acquisitions in the UK, France and Germany — but overall growth at the world's largest PR firm has slowed considerably in the past couple of years. 
“I think Edelman Deportivo's offer is the most relevant and innovative in the industry today, and of course I am disappointed at the difficult decision to consult with the union about closure," said Edelman Deportivo GM Lotta Onajin. "At the same time, I am so grateful for all the great colleagues and clients I have worked with, and my focus now is to support our team and clients through this consultation process."