LONDON—Four Communications, one of the top five independent PR firms in the UK, has acquired business-to-business and technology PR firm Kinross+Render and a stake in ECCO International, the 32-country international public relations network founded and led by K+R’s chief executive Sara Render.

Four acquired 100 percent of K+R in a cash and equity deal, and will merge the business with its existing corporate an crisis practice under the leadership of Render. Render also assumes responsibility for business development across the Four Communications Group and will sit on the group operating board.

The ECCO network, which includes partners in 32 countries—including Wellcom in France, Bex in the Netherlands, Marco de Communicacion in Spain, Ad Mirabilia in Italy, On Board in Poland, Pressman in India—will supplement Four’s existing international operations, which are primarily focused on the Gulf region, with offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Muscat.

“At least a third of our clients have some international element,” says Four chief executive Nan Williams, “and this is growing all the time, partly because people are looking for their international work to be far more integrated than in the past, driven by digital and particularly social channels.

“In many ways ECCO is a hybrid of a giant agency and a collection of leading national independents. ECCO is a company, rather than a loose cooperation, owned by a number of the agencies within it.  This gives it the advantage of centralised management where it matters, such as common templates and operating standards, as well as all the advantages you get by having top independents supporting you in every market.

“It is much less likely you will have weak links with the ECCO model.”

The network has fee income of around €35 million, which will rise to more than €50 million with Four’s participation.

Kinross + Render is the third acquisition for Four, which acquired 60 percent stake in consultancy Colman Getty—a specialist in culture and campaigning—in November, and travel and tourism boutique bgb a year earlier.