PR Firm Acquired


    GRAND RAPIDS — Lambert, Edwards & Associates got a bit bigger last week, as the public and investor relations firm acquired Straightline Public Relations.

    LE&A President and Managing Partner Jeff Lambert said bringing Straightline — one of the region’s top PR firms — into LE&A’s fold strengthens its position internally and takes the agency a step closer to reaching its ultimate business goal.

    “What this does is it allows us to add additional clients and additional staff. Our goal is to continue to grow, and the only way for us to grow is to have great clients and great people,” he said.

    “We see immense opportunity both here in this region and nationally, and this is another step in this direction,” he added.

    Lambert said the addition of Straightline strengthens LE&A’s presence in areas the firm has already had much success.

    “They have complementary clients and complementary skills. It bolsters our consumer, retail and health-care PR side,” he said.

    The acquisition beings LE&A’s client roster to more than 75 publicly traded and privately held companies located in a dozen states. LE&A is already the largest investor relations firm in Michigan, a notable accomplishment for an agency that got its start just seven years ago.

    As for Straightline President Peggy Howard, she joins LE&A as a managing director and brings all of her fulltime employees with her.

    “The Straightline team is looking forward to combining its distinctive expertise in the consumer PR arena with the larger resources of LE&A. The most immediate and direct result of this combination is greatly increased client value, and we’re excited to bring our two organizations together,” said Howard.

    Before the acquisition, Straightline served as a PR partner to Hanon McKendry/The Brand Consultants, a leading advertising, marketing and brand-consulting company in the Midwest. In addition to consumer goods, retail and health care, Straightline has clients in manufacturing, food and beverage, automotive, contract furniture and sports marketing.

    Howard and Straightline employees will join Lambert and the LE&A staff in the firm’s new office on the fourth floor of

    171 Monroe Ave. NW

    this week. The new workplace, about 6,000 square feet, gives LE&A 75 percent more space than the agency had at its previous location.

    LE&A has posted double-digit revenue growth in each of the past five years and closed last year with a 17 percent increase over 2003. Taken together, LE&A and Straightline had 2004 revenue that topped $2.5 million.

    The transaction closed last week, but financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    “We’re building one of the fastest growing and most dynamic agency environments in the Midwest, and this acquisition only accelerates our momentum,” said Lambert. “Our vision is to be the firm of choice for staff and clients, and we’re pleased to welcome a proven team of professionals and a number of important new client partnerships.”    

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