Creston to Acquire Cooney/Waters

U.K. marketing services group Creston said it agreed in principle to acquire U.S. healthcare PR firm Cooney/Waters and its healthcare advocacy unit Alembic Health Communications in a cash deal, valued up to $30.8 million.

Founded in 1992 by Lenore Cooney, the New York City–based company works for pharmaceutical clients like Abbott Fund, American Lung Association and Coca-Cola Co. Cooney, who is the company’s chairman, will remain with the firm along with other senior management. Cooney is a former president of WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather PR, New York.

In 2008, Cooney/Waters and Creston’s U.K.-based healthcare PR agency, Red Door Communications, founded the Health Collective Network, a multinational group of 10 specialist consultancies. Red Door works for clients like AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Procter & Gamble. Cooney/Waters and Red Door both work for clients like GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur.

The acquisition is subject to approval by Creston shareholders on Dec. 15 and is expected to close shortly after that vote. The price includes an initial payment of $9.4 million at the closing of the deal and additional earn-outs, based on future performance, of up to $21.4 million.