A&R are one of the most highly regarded independent PR agencies in the Valley. At least one part of that statement stands, but not the independent bit. Edelman is the new owner, completing a much needed strengthening their tech capabilities that makes them a real force now in the Nth American tech market. Bizarrely the story is running on PRWeek and on Steve's blog, nothing on Edelman or A&R.
Edelman's tech footprint also includes Zeno with long-term clients like Oracle. So it's now Next Fifteen with brands like Bite, Outcast and Text 100 pitted against Edelman with Zeno and A&R. Are we looking at the two break-away holding company brands in tech worldwide?
While Edelman will have to deal with the inevitable integration issues that come with any merger(retaining clients and staff, and dealing with conflicts - the big three), what it looks like they are going to do is similar to Next Fifteen - that is, keep the brands independent and fuel their growth. Merging Edelman's tech group into A&R solves another issue - the conflict with Microsoft.
More than anything though, this looks to be about fueling growth through talent acquisition. I meet with plenty of agency heads and they are all saying the same thing. Can't find great talent, can barely find good talent. This is a talent starved market.
Good move by Edelman.