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Cohn & Wolfe expands in Southeast Asia with XPR acquisition

14 December, 2011

Move significantly increases agency's digital and social media capabilities in Asia Pacific

NEW YORK — Cohn & Wolfe ( announced today it has signed an agreement to acquire XPR, one of Singapore’s largest independent communications agencies, with additional offices in Malaysia and Indonesia. The deal, the second for Cohn & Wolfe in Asia Pacific in the past month, establishes the agency’s presence in Southeast Asia and adds significant social media and digital expertise, as well as leading regional and international clients to its existing portfolio.

As one of Southeast Asia’s leading digital-centric PR agencies, XPR counts among its clients some of the biggest names in banking, sports, technology and lifestyle, including Groupon, SingTel, BMW Asia, and Motorola Mobility. XPR is ranked annually as one of the top 10 PR agencies in Singapore and was most recently named 2011 Agency of the Year by Marketing Magazine. Seventy-five percent of XPR’s accounts integrate digital and social media elements, with social media retainers accounting for over a third of group revenues in 2011.

The agency, Cohn & Wolfe XPR, will have 28 professionals working on interactive marketing – including digital, social and mobile media – and traditional communications for regional and international brands. Cohn & Wolfe XPR will have a strong leadership team with local and global expertise across technology, sports, digital, financial and lifestyle brands. The new agency will provide XPR’s current clients access to an award-winning international network, while deepening Cohn & Wolfe’s digital offering and establishing a presence in Singapore and Malaysia, in addition to its existing Indonesia offering.

The deal is part of Cohn & Wolfe’s strategic priority to expand its footprint in the Asia Pacific region. It closely follows the agency’s November 2011 acquisition of impactasia in Greater China.

“Since our very first meeting, XPR has impressed me with their strong leadership and quality of work. It’s clear they are driven to capitalize on the vast opportunities in Asia and our clients will benefit from this infusion of talent and digital expertise,” said Donna Imperato, CEO of Cohn & Wolfe.

Leading the new agency are Karen Ho, Gavin Foo and Adrian Lee, who will be Group Managing Directors, reporting to Imperato. In a joint statement by Ho, Foo and Lee, “Cohn & Wolfe shares the same streak of independence, energy and innovation as we do, making the agency a compelling partner in the next stage of our growth.”

Gavin Foo commented, “XPR’s cutting-edge strategy of integrating best-in-breed social technologies with traditional PR has made us the leading choice for clients in the region.”

About Cohn & Wolfe
Cohn & Wolfe, a global communications agency, builds brands and corporate reputations through an uncompromising commitment to creativity. The agency’s strategic approach unearths fresh, relevant insights leading to communications solutions that deliver measurable business success. Over its 40-year history, Cohn & Wolfe’s award-winning brand marketing work and world-class digital media campaigns have attracted top brands around the world. In 2011, Advertising Age recognized Cohn & Wolfe’s independent-minded, entrepreneurial culture, naming it one of the “Best Places to Work in Marketing & Media.” The agency has more than 1,000 employees in over 50 offices across North America, EMEA, and Asia. Cohn & Wolfe is part of WPP (Nasdaq: WPPGY), the world's largest communications services group.

About XPR
The largest independent communications agency in Singapore, XPR is a specialist in technology, FMCG, consumer lifestyle and sports public relations and digital communications, and comprises well-established and veteran practitioners in the regional marketing communications landscape. Unique to XPR is a team of professionals with proven, award-winning expertise in mainstream PR and next-generation media that can deliver integrated communication campaigns targeting traditional media, bloggers, online and virtual communities, virtual worlds and social media networks.

XPR is a strong evangelist of the concept that 'Everyone Is Media' - that with the right approach to communications, there really is little differentiation between the impact and efficacy of traditional and social media, or formal and citizen journalism. This provides a unique advantage to XPR clients in the effective reach of key media audiences, while establishing a firm foothold in next-generation, user-generated content channels.

Katy Kelley, Vice President, Global Marketing and Communications, US +1 212.798.9773

Hannah Dawson, EMEA Coordinator & Executive Assistant, UK  +44 (0) 20 7331 5425

Gavin Foo, Group Managing Director, Cohn & Wolfe XPR  +65 82 333 666

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