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John Doe absorbs Wire to form John Doe Group

John Doe has absorbed Wire to form the John Doe Group

Wire has confirmed its merger with fellow PR and media agency John Doe to form a new group focused on building brands.

Uniting as John Doe Group the enlarged business will serve as a ‘production house for stories’ spanning PR, advertising, research, digital, planning, experiential and a content studio.

What will the merger look like?

  • The combined entity will fold Wire’s Glasgow and Manchester offices into John Doe, with the enlarged business to be led by Lee Beattie as chief executive, Magin Trewhella as chief strategy officer and Pam Scobbie as chief creative officer.

  • Scobbie and Beattie co-founded Wire a decade ago to form a PR firm centred on efficiency and the customer experience, an approach which saw them become the first agency outside the capital to win the Creative Shootout.

  • Wire is best known for its ’Bloody Big Brunch’ campaign which helped bring about legislative change to tackle period poverty.

  • The trio will be joined by Rachel Bell, founder of John Doe in 2010, who has simultaneously served as chair of Wire since 2019 – a role Bell will continue following reorganisation.

  • Together Trewhella, Bell, Scobbie and Beattie will all be equal partners in the new group.

  • Launching with a bang, the John Doe Group also announced significant new business wins in the form of Tesco Mobile and Anglepoise.

  • Both additions will join a client base that includes the likes of Adidas Originals, Instagram, Edinburgh Gin and Magners.

Why it matters

  • The tie-up marks a rare spark of activity in a stalled mergers and acquisitions sector which has slumped 19% by volume and 50% by value in 2020 on the back of economic uncertainty.

  • Despite the slowdown, activity has continued at a low level with an acceleration of acquisition trends observable beneath the headline figures as part of a shift away from established global networks.

  • This has cleared the way for upstarts such as S4 Capital to swoop, embarking on a post-Brexit shopping spree with the acquisition of Tomorrow, Decoded Advertising and Metric Theory.