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WPP Expands Footprint in Russia/CIS - The PBN Company Merges with Hill+Knowlton Strategies


23 Jan 2012


Europe's East
Public Affairs

New York, London, Moscow — The PBN Company, the preeminent strategic communications firm in Russia, Ukraine and the CIS is merging with Hill+Knowlton Strategies, the global strategic communications firm with 83 offices in 44 countries.  Hill+Knowlton Strategies will operate in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and throughout the CIS under the brand name PBN Hill+Knowlton Strategies.  

The merger is the result of WPP (LSE:WPP; NASDAQ:WPPGY) acquiring an additional 25.1% stake in The PBN Company.  WPP, which bought 49.9% of the company in 2007, brings their holding in PBN Hill+Knowlton Strategies to 75%.

The transaction creates WPP’s first majority-owned, full-service strategic communications firm in the region.   PBN’s founders and top executives — Peter B. Necarsulmer, Susan A. Thurman and Myron Wasylyk — will retain a 25% ownership in the new company.

“The combined PBN Hill+Knowlton Strategies offers our clients unmatched synergies in experience, wisdom and creativity in the high growth markets of Russia and the former Soviet Union,” said Jack Martin, global Chairman and CEO.  “This partnership culminates many years of successful collaboration between Hill+Knowlton Strategies and PBN, and makes eminent good sense for clients of both firms as well as for WPP.”

For Hill+Knowlton Strategies and its clients, PBN offers a strong foothold in the emerging CIS markets, particularly in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.  For PBN and its clients, Hill+Knowlton Strategies offers expertise in strengthening client brands and reputations, and opens up a fully integrated global network for regional companies and governments in all key market centers of Europe, Asia and the Americas.

“Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ leadership of the ‘wisdom business’ now includes one of the world’s most important emerging markets,” said Martin.  “PBN’s world class counsel to scores of top companies investing in Russia and other CIS countries has set the standards of strategic communications in the region for more than two decades.   PBN’s depth of expertise and relationships with government, the business community and media will serve our clients exceptionally well in this dynamic part of the world.” 

“PBN’s merger with Hill+Knowlton Strategies is a unique opportunity for our clients and our employees,” said Necarsulmer.  “Increasingly our clients based in Russia, Ukraine and the CIS are requiring sophisticated, value-added strategic communications in priority markets around the world.  H+K Strategies’ world class talent and international strength combined with PBN’s unparalleled knowledge and understanding of the region is a winning combination.”

The PBN Company provides corporate and crisis communications, government relations, financial communications and marketing communications to both Western companies investing in the CIS and regional companies expanding internationally.  The firm’s clients include Abbott, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BP, Citi, John Deere, Kingfisher, NYSE Euronext, Rosneft, Visa and Xerox, among others.

Together PBN Hill+Knowlton Strategies will realize efficiencies in markets where their operations overlapped.  In Russia, where both entities had Moscow operations, H+K’s operations will be merged into PBN. In Washington, DC, PBN’s operations will share offices with Hill+Knowlton Strategies.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies 

Hill+Knowlton Strategies is the leading international communications consultancy, providing services to local, multinational and global clients.  The firm is headquartered in New York City and has 83 offices in 44 countries, as well as an extensive association network.  H+K is part of WPP (LSE:WPP; NASDAQ:WPPGY), the world’s largest communications services group, employing 153,000 people working in 2,400 offices in 107 countries. 

The PBN Company

Established in 1983, The PBN Company is the leading international strategic communications firm specializing in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, other CIS countries and high-growth emerging markets.  PBN helps Western clients design and implement strategies to maximize their investments in the region.  PBN also works with emerging market companies to expand their domestic market share and build their businesses into global enterprises.  Throughout its markets of expertise, PBN works with businesses, industries and business associations to advance their public policy objectives at federal, regional and local levels of governance.  PBN is part of WPP (LSE:WPP; NASDAQ:WPPGY), the world’s largest communications services group, employing 153,000 people working in 2,400 offices in 107 countries.


Contact Information:



Melanie Faithfull Kent

Tel. +32 (0) 2 737 95 00


Jason Frayne

Tel. +44 (0) 7766 246841

New York

Allison Cohen

Tel. +1 212 885 0505


Igor Tolkachev

Tel. +7 495 775 0077


Oxana Monastyrska

Tel. +38 044 586 6350


Inna Lebedeva

Tel. +7 727 239 1133



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