London-headquartered marketing services duo Incepta Group and Huntsworth Group are to merge after a short courtship [WAMN: 22-Feb-05] in a £195 million ($375.2m; €283.33m) all-share deal.

Apart from a mutual need to survive in a world increasingly dominated by global titans, the pair have much in common. Both are publicly listed second division holding companies with a strong PR orientation; and each is led by a high profile executive with gilt-edged establishment connections.

According to a joint announcement, the upcoming marriage will spawn an international, PR-driven marketing services group operating in twenty-three nations.

Reads the statement: "Huntsworth's and Incepta's boards believe that a greater critical mass and international presence will substantially improve the group's ability to attract and retain large clients and highly regarded industry talent."

Geographically there is considerable operational overlap with both companies active in the UK, Austria, Germany and the USA. Incepta also brings Holland, Italy and Spain to the party, while Huntsworth contributes units in Belgium and France.

On completion of the merger Huntsworth ceo Lord Peter Chadlington (née Gummer) will become executive chairman of the group, while Incepta's chairman, the Tory politico Francis Maude, steps back one pace to become deputy-chairman alongside Huntsworth chairman Jon Foulds. The group chief executive will be Richard Nichols, currently filling the same role at Incepta.

Data sourced from Incepta and Huntsworth websites; additional content by WARC staff