GolinHarris To Acquire Virgo HEALTH To Expand Company's Global Healthcare Practice
Published on Thursday, 05 July 2012 12:50 Written by TradersHuddle Staff
Firms to launch new specialty practice focused on digital health
CHICAGO, July 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- GolinHarris, a division within Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG), announced today it will acquire Virgo HEALTH, the award-winning, independent UK healthcare communications firm, to become part of the GolinHarris network. Virgo HEALTH will retain its name. Founders and joint chief executives Angie Wiles and Sarah Matthew will continue in their current roles, reporting to Fred Cook, GolinHarris CEO, and work closely with Matt Neale and Jon Hughes, co-presidents, GH International. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Angie Wiles and Sarah Matthew founded Virgo HEALTH in 2003 after successful careers with pharmaceutical companies and large, publicly-owned agencies with a mission to raise the bar in healthcare communications. Today, the 60-member London-based agency provides a full range of services in healthcare communications across three core business units – Virgo HEALTH Communications (medical healthcare PR), Virgo HEALTH Education (medical education) and Virgo HEALTH Consumer (consumer health and OTC PR). These are complemented by Virgo VANTAGE, its strategic consultancy offering. The firm's client roster spans key brands across the health spectrum -- including Astra Zeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Janssen, Novartis, Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Since 2003, Virgo HEALTH has earned numerous awards for its work and culture, including Communique "Consultancy of the Year" in 2006, 2009 and 2010, PR Week Specialist Consultancy of the Year and has been cited for the past three years as one of the top small workplaces in the UK (Great Places to Work Institute).
"The success enjoyed by Virgo over the last nine years has exceeded all of our expectations but it has long been our aspiration to take Virgo to a whole other level and create a genuine legacy brand," said Sarah Matthew. "We have found a truly like-minded partner in GolinHarris with complementary expertise, shared values and a strong culture. As businesses and people we are a perfect match, and, in joining forces with GolinHarris, we are able to optimize our ambitions in terms of extending our geographical reach and impact."
"Healthcare continues to be one of the most vibrant sectors in the communications/marketing field and has a tremendous need for sector expertise," said Harris Diamond, chief executive officer of Interpublic's Constituency Management Group, which includes GolinHarris. "The skill set and quality of Virgo's team will be a tremendous asset for our clients."
As part of the agreement, Wiles and Matthew will build the Virgo brand in North America and beyond, and in addition, they will play a senior leadership role in GolinHarris.
"We have enormous respect and admiration for Virgo HEALTH. Our partnership with them will significantly strengthen our healthcare practice and offering in Europe and around the globe," said Fred Cook, CEO GolinHarris. "In addition to expanding the Virgo HEALTH brand in the U.S. and beyond, together we are forming a new global, digitally focused specialty health practice called Go Digital Health."
Go brings together Virgo HEALTH's healthcare heritage with GolinHarris' deep digital expertise – fortified with the recent acquisition of interactive agency FUSE – to offer clients access to the leading thinking in digital health.
"The goal of this new offering is to realize the true value of digital for healthcare brands, professionals and communities," said Jon Hughes, president, GH International. "Go simplifies two complex worlds: digital and health. Our work continues to keep GolinHarris at the forefront of the digital space while Virgo has a fundamental understanding of the health environment that is second to none."
"The launch of Go is just the beginning," said Angie Wiles. "It is a sign of what our partnership will be able to offer healthcare clients domestically, regionally and globally, and we believe there is no team better placed to help healthcare companies unlock the potential of digital while respecting the specific challenges and responsibilities companies in this sector face. We're excited to see where we go together."
Interpublic is one of the world's leading organizations of advertising agencies and marketing services companies. Major global brands include Draftfcb, FutureBrand, GolinHarris International, HUGE, Initiative, Jack Morton Worldwide, Lowe and Partners, MAGNAGLOBAL, McCann Erickson, Momentum, MRM Worldwide, Octagon, R/GA, UM and Weber Shandwick. For more information, please visit www.interpublic.com.
GolinHarris is a holistic communications firm designed and built to help clients win in a complex, connected society. In 2011, GH completely redesigned the agency to combine strategy, creativity and engagement into one seamless package that is delivered to clients. The model, called g4, provides clients with a dedicated team of specialists, including strategists, creators, connectors and catalysts, who are embedded in every account.
GH created the Bridge™ global network of holistic engagement centers to help clients infuse their brands and products into the news and conversation cycles of the hour. A pioneering approach in today's complex media environment, PRWeek recently named the Bridge "PR Innovation of the Year" for 2012 and The Holmes Report awarded the innovation a Silver Sabre for PR Service of the Year.
The agency's core practices include consumer marketing, corporate communications, digital and social media, corporate social responsibility, healthcare, internal communications, multicultural marketing, technology and public affairs.
GolinHarris clients include McDonald's, Dow Chemical Company, Florida Department of Citrus, Kaiser Permanente, Nintendo of America Inc., Johnson and Johnson, Texas Instruments and Unilever. GH was recognized as a 2011 Ad Age Agency A-List and also has been named a 2011 Best Large Agency to Work For by The Holmes Report and a 2011 Best Place to Work in Marketing and Media by Ad Age. The agency has 38 offices in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, is headquartered in Chicago and is a subsidiary of the Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG). For more information, visit www.golinharris.com.
About Virgo HEALTH
Virgo HEALTH is one of the UK's leading independent healthcare communications consultancies. With a core proposition of Communications Without Compromise, Virgo provides a genuinely uncompromised service where the exceptional is always the rule. From insightful consultancy to flawless campaign execution, Virgo applies an unrivalled blend of exceptional quality, experience, innovation and multi-channel, award-winning results. For more information, visit www.virgohealth.com.
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