LONDON, January 4—Incepta Group, parent company of several public relations firms including IR specialist Citigate Dewe Rogerson and technology agency Citigate Cunningham, became the latest communications group to get into the competitive intelligence business in late December, acquiring Global Intelligence & Security (GIS), a corporate security and intelligence firm founded by eight former staffers from industry leader Kroll Associates.
Incepta will pay an initial $3m in cash and $500,000 in shares for GIS, which was only recently incorporated and has “negligible assets,” according to Incepta. But the maximum consideration could be as much as $44m if financial performance targets are met over seven years.
The move makes Incepta the latest in a lengthening line of PR firms to add competitive intelligence resources to their portfolio of services. International agency Fleishman-Hillard formalized its CI offering last year, forging an alliance with specialist Fuld & Company; Edelman Public Relations Worldwide subsidiary PR21 has had CI capabilities since its inception; and even smaller firms, like Denver’s BRW LeGrand, are getting in on the act.
Most dramatically, Omnicom launched its own security business in December of 2001, headed by former New York City police commissioner Howard Safir.
According to Incepta chief executive Richard Nichols, “Main boards are now taking advice from business intelligence companies as well as PR companies on a range of issues including mergers and acquisitions and this is a way of providing that service.” In that regard, GIS might be expected to work most closely with Citigate Dewe Rogerson in the U.K. and with New York M&A specialist Citigate Sard Verbinnen.
Says Incepta executive chairman David Wright, “In the United States and around the world, the financial communications market and public relations disciplines are increasingly complemented by business and competitive intelligence services. Focused on providing strategic advice at main board level, financial public relations companies are working alongside business and competitive intelligence consultants to refine and enhance the effectiveness of the communications process.
“The expertise of Global Intelligence and Security is an ideal complement to the strong Citigate financial and corporate communications international network and will help us better serve our clients.”