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Two Hollywood PR giants, Rogers & Cowan and PMK-BNC, merge into one mega-company

Rogers & Cowan
Rogers & Cowan and PMK-BNC are merging into a single company.
(Rogers & Cowan and PMK-BNC)

Hollywood’s two biggest public relations agencies — Rogers & Cowan and PMK-BNC — are combining forces, in the latest example of consolidation to hit the entertainment industry.

The combined companies, which both have offices in Los Angeles and New York, will boast a client roster of more than 500 actors, musicians, directors and other artists, as well as 30 major brands, the firms said Tuesday.

Financial details were not disclosed.

The new entity, which does not yet have a name, represents a wide variety of talent, including actors Robert Redford, Glenn Close and Denzel Washington, filmmakers Jerry Bruckheimer and Robert Zemeckis, and musicians Katy Perry and Sean Combs. It will also work with brands including Audi, Hasbro, McDonald’s, Masterpiece Theatre, Microsoft and Verizon.

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The new mega-firm, which will employ more than 350 marketing and communications professionals, will be led by Rogers & Cowan Chief Executive Mark Owens and PMK-BNC CEO and Chairwoman Cindi Berger. Berger will serve as chairwoman, and Owens will be CEO. Rogers & Cowan co-President Alan Nierob will become chairman of the entity’s entertainment division.

Both companies are already owned by publicly traded marketing giant IPG but have operated separately in the highly competitive landscape of show business publicity. By combining, the firms will be able to cut costs and enjoy increased clout in entertainment and sports.

But in an interview, Owens said the deal is about growing both businesses rather than shedding expenses.

“We’re both growing really fast, and we’re looking at this as a way to service our clients globally,” he said.

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The merger represents the combination of two storied industry institutions. Rogers & Cowan was founded in L.A. in 1950 by Henry Rogers and Warren Cowan. PMK, formerly led by famed public relations titan Pat Kingsley, merged with BNC in 2010.

In recent years, the entertainment industry has gone through massive changes, including the rise of streaming giants including Netflix, increasing global demand for talent in countries including China, and studio mergers such as the recent purchase of 21st Century Fox by Walt Disney Co.

The rise of online entertainment publications hungry for celebrity news has increased demands on publicists. Additionally, PR pros are increasingly juggling the wishes of entertainment business multihyphenates, who not only act but also direct, produce and launch their own companies.

“The environment right now requires a massive global scope and scale,” Owens said. “We were all lured by that opportunity to become the one shop in town where everyone wanted to go.”

Berger and Nierob first discussed the idea of combining Rogers & Cowan and PMK-BNC about six months ago at a press junket.

There, they discussed the dramatic changes in the industry and the possible benefits of joining forces. Rogers & Cowan, for example, has a sports department, an area in which PMK-BNC was previously lacking. Rogers & Cowan clients include former Lakers star Kobe Bryant and Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry, who have both made inroads in entertainment.

Berger also cited her company’s data analytics team as a potential boon for the new company and its lineup of stars.

“It’s what we have to offer, and the services we can provide for our clients,” Berger said.

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The firm’s management team also includes Shirley Hughes as president of its brand marketing practice, Bill Rosenthal as chief operating officer and chief financial officer, and Brad Cafarelli and Fran Curtis as vice chairs of the business’ entertainment side.


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