Churchill Staff, Clients At Bates

Bates USA has completed its acquisition of Houston-based Churchill Group, formalizing new specialty units at the Bates Southwest operation there.
Bates Southwest chairman Jerry Kerr told Adweek the deal was signed Oct. 2, adding more than 40 Churchill employees to Bates’ staff of 45. All existing Churchill clients are making the move with the shop, setting up under three new Bates Churchill divisions: public relations, advertising and research.
The impetus for the deal involved improving the business-to-business and public relations capabilities of Bates’ Houston site, as well as the upcoming retirement plans of Churchill owner Mirrel Kephart.
Kephart becomes Bates vice chairman under Kerr.
The deal was announced in July by Bates, less than three months after the two shops began merger discussions. Joining the Bates roster are clients like Dresser Industries, Houston Industries, Time-Warner Cable and Equilon Enterprises–the latter a joint marketing venture of Shell Oil and former Bates client Texaco. Those accounts will remain under the management of existing Churchill principals, according to Kerr.
Bates, currently at $85 million in billings, has picked up new consumer accounts this year such as the inaugural $10 million advertising launch of Envi hair and skin care lines from IQ Products Co. in Houston.