BOSTON: Publicis Groupe has continued its PR agency acquisition spree by buying up leading US independent Schwartz Communications.

The deal marks the holding group’s sixth PR agency acquisition over the past 18 months, after buying 20:20 (India), Eastwei and Genedigi (China), Andreoli (Brazil), and Interactive Communications (Taiwan).

Like the other five firms, Schwartz will be integrated with the group’s flagship MSLGroup PR network, adding substantial technology and healthcare capabilities.

Schwartz ranked 45th in the Holmes Report’s recent Global Rankings, after reporting fee income of around $25 million in 2010. The firm grew its fee income by just one percent, dropping four places after being ranked 41st one year earlier.

According its most recent Agency Report Card, Schwartz is one of the eight largest independent public relations firms in the US, with 180 people operating from its Waltham, Mass., headquarters, a San Francisco office, and international operations in Stockholm and London (where the firm’s first acquisition, Hayhurst Media, took it into the clean tech and life sciences sectors in 2009). 

The firm was founded by Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz in 1990, and key clients include companies such as Accuray, E Ink, ESET, MicroStrategy and GE Healthcare-Americas.

In the US, Schwartz will operate under the name Schwartz MSL. Bryan Scanlon, president of Schwartz, and Ari Milstein, COO, will run Schwartz MSL, reporting to Jim Tsokanos, president of MSLGROUP Americas. European offices will be integrated immediately into existing MSL operations.

“This is an acquisition that will strengthen our network in a number of key fields,“ said Olivier Fleurot, CEO of MSLGROUP. “The deal also adds to MSLGROUP‘s existing technology and healthcare practice. Schwartz is a company that perfectly complements our existing skill-set and our geographical strengths.”