Hill, Holliday Grows in South With Buy

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Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos Inc., Boston, is expanding in the South with the purchase of Erwin-Penland Inc., a leading advertising agency in South Carolina with whom it shares the Verizon Wireless account.


Terms were not disclosed, though Erwin-Penland will keep its name and base in Greenville, SC. Joe Erwin, Gretchen Erwin and Allen Bosworth will remain agency principals. All agency employees retain their jobs.


"Aside from our common client in Verizon Wireless, the acquisition of Erwin-Penland will help Hill, Holliday establish a bigger presence in the Southeast," agency president Mike Sheehan said. "We're looking to grow in places that are growing, in fields that fit into what we do, like telecommunications, financial services and technology."


With the purchase, Hill, Holliday becomes responsible for half of Verizon Wireless' retail advertising in the United States. The account is handled out of Hill, Holliday's New York office for the Northeast region. Erwin-Penland is responsible for work in the Southeast.


Other Erwin-Penland clients include Michelin North America and BMW. They are sticking with the agency. When last reported, the agency posted billings exceeding $100 million.


Agency holding firm Interpublic Group of Companies Inc., New York, owns Hill, Holliday. With more than 600 employees, Hill, Holliday has clients like Anheuser-Busch, FleetBoston Financial, John Hancock Financial, Dell Inc., Marshalls, Dunkin' Donuts, Tyco, CVS/pharmacy and PricewaterhouseCoopers.


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