NEW YORK — MDC Partners is merging two of its PR firms, KWT Global and HL Group, which will formally start operating as one entity on June 1.

KWT co-founder and CEO Aaron Kwittken will serve as global CEO of the combined firm, while HL co-founder and CEO Lynn Tesoro will oversee the agency’s consumer and lifestyle clients as HL Group founding partner. KWT president Gabrielle Zucker will serve as president of the new firm and continue to report into Kwittken.

The merger will essentially double KWT’s staff. MDC does not disclose the size of its agencies’ staffs or revenues. According to PRovoke Media's PR agency rankings, KWT ended 2019 at $11m. 

Both KWT and HL will continue to operate under their respective names through the end of the year, when the firms will move jointly into a New York World Trade Center headquarters and combine Los Angeles, London and Toronto offices. At the time, the firms will start operating under one brand name, which will be announced later this year.

The combined agency will offer the full range of communications services: media relations, influencer engagement, digital and social media, and content marketing, with specialties in financial services, health, brand purpose, technology and crisis communications and consumer among others.  The combined client roster includes Deloitte, American Express Global Business Travel, NetJets, Eataly, BLINK Fitness, PayPal, L’Oreal USA, Sprint and UGG.

Last year, MDC Partners created a network that aligns six of its specialty agencies, including PR shops KWT Global and HL Group, with one of its largest US advertising firms, Doner. 

“We’re excited to welcome Lynn and HL Group to the KWT Global family,” Kwittken said. “HL Group’s deep and unparalleled expertise in consumer, lifestyle, luxury, fashion and beauty will significantly bolster our global capabilities and together we will be able to offer an even broader spectrum of integrated communications services to B2B and B2C clients alike.”

Said Tesoro: “Strategy and partnership have always been the touchstones of HL Group, and in that spirit I could not be more excited to be partnering with Aaron and the amazing team at KWT Global. While these are undoubtedly challenging times, they also provide us with new opportunities to further fortify and grow our business, expand our services but deepen the expertise we offer our clients.”