NEW YORK: French headquartered advertising conglomerate Publicis Groupe is to buy US public relations firm Kekst & Company, which is currently working for brewer Anheuser Busch in its takeover tussle with European giant InBev.

The deal, rumored to be worth around $150 million (€94m; £75.5m), will see the PR firm's ceo, Gershon Kekst, continue to run the business, which will also retain its name.

Since its launch in 1970, the company has provided behind-the-scenes advice in many of America's biggest corporate acquisitions, including the battle between publisher McGraw-Hill and American Express in 1978 and Chrysler's struggle with investor Kirk Kerkorian in the mid-1990s.

Commented Kekst: "We have high expectations for this combination as it will preserve the best characteristics of our firm and its culture, while offering us opportunities to grow with the support of a well respected global communications partner."

While Publicis chairman/ceo Maurice Lévy added: "We are investing in Kekst & Company today because of the depth of its professional capability and its future growth potential."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff