NEW YORK — Omnicom Public Relations Group has acquired healthcare consultancy Rabin Martin, the first deal since naming Karen van Bergen to oversee the group's PR agencies earlier this year.

A 50-person firm that focuses on global public health issues, Rabin Martin was founded 12 years ago in New York, and also operates offices in Los Angeles, London and Geneva. The 100% buyout will result in Rabin Martin operating as Omnicom PR Group's 11th agency brand, with president and CEO Jeffrey Sturchio (pictured) reporting to van Bergen.

The deal comes after a few years that were notable for Omnicom's relative lack of PR acquisition activity, a situation that van Bergen is hoping to change. Rabin Martin already works alongside Omnicom agencies for such clients as the Gates Foundation. Van Bergen noted that the consultancy will likely collaborate most with Omnicom's bigger global networks, along with Marina Maher Communications.

"They have an unparalleled niche in the public sector, particularly, which complements what we have," van Bergen told the Holmes Report. "It’s very closely linked to the work we do at Omnicom PR Group."

Best known for working with clients to create solutions that address public healthcare challenges, Rabin Martin's work includes such programs as Merck for Mothers, a 10-year, $500m initiative to improve the health and wellness of women in pregnancy and childbirth around the world.

"We were thinking of how we can best strengthen our offering for clients and the impact we have on global health," said Sturchio. "It became clear to us that Omnicom best understood the value we had to offer and saw the potential for synergies with their current practice."

Rabin Martin founder Steve Rabin will continue as chairman of the firm's international advisory council. Rebecca Hoppy also remains in place as managing director and partner, along with partner Kate Schachern.

Sturchio added that Omnicom's "global reach" also helped clinch the deal, given the rising demand for public health solutions in emerging markets. "What you’ve seen in the last 10 to 15 years is an enormous growth of investment," he said. "You have an enormous marketplace for public health in emerging markets — that market is being addressed by all of the major healthcare companies."

In addition to maternal mortality, Sturchio pointed to malaria, cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes as issues that are attracting rising investment. "The other reason is our main focus is on building partnerships that can help our clients reach populations they couldn’t reach before and do business in new ways," he said. "It improves their corporate reputation and helps them become partners of choice for governments."