R&R, Brown, Ernaut to Merge in Vegas

LOS ANGELES Independents R&R Partners, Brown & Partners and Peter Ernaut will join forces in an equal-partnership merger, an R&R representative said today.

The merger, to take effect Jan 1, 2005, will result in the formation of a Las Vegas-headquartered advertising and public relations agency with a 242-person employee roster and $226 million in combined annual billings.

“This is the beginning of a new growth phase for [the] 30-year-old agency,” said R&R CEO Billy Vassiliadis. R&R, creator of the successful “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” city tourism campaign, expects the expansion to allow competition on a “more national scale,” the agency said. Other R&R accounts include the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Mandalay Resort Group.

Brown & Partners’ current president, Mark Brown, will become president of R&R Partners, while Brown’s managing partner, Chuck Johnston, will be named president of Brown & Partners, and will continue to work at the shop’s recently opened Sahara Avenue space. Brown’s major clients include MGM Mirage Properties, which is expected to merge with Mandalay in 2005.

Ernaut, a political consultant and former chief of staff for Nevada governor Kenny Guinn, will become president of R&R Partner’s public affairs division; he will be based at the agency’s established Reno, Nev., office, for its proximity to the state capital in Carson City. The newly expanded company will also operate branches in Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Washington, D.C.