Publicis acquires Kekst and Co.

All of Kekst’s private equity clients, which include KKR, General Atlantic and Warburg Pincus, will stay with the firm.

Global advertising and communications firm Publicis has paid an undisclosed sum for Kekst and Company, a New York-based corporate and financial communications firm synonymous with big-name buyout firms.

Kekst’s private equity clients include Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Warburg Pincus, Investcorp, General Atlantic, KPS Capital Partners, Behrman Capital, HM Capital, CI Capital Partners, Palladium Equity Partners and Riverstone.

Kekst will operate “autonomously” within Publicis, and all of its clients will stay with the firm, said senior partner Jeffrey Taufield.

“We have had an outpouring of support from each and every client of the firm,” Taufield told PEO.

Since the firm was founded in 1970, Kekst has also been involved with some of the highest profile buyouts in the industry, including KKR’s leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco in 1988 and the merger of Citicorp and Travelers in 1998.

Publicis also represents a number of high profile clients in the financial services industry, including Bank of America, Barclays Capital, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and UBS. But the merger with Kekst will fill gaps in its capabilities, including support for bankruptcy, restructuring and litigation, Taufield said.

As a result of the merger, Kekst will be able to consider international expansion seriously for the first time in its history, Taufield said. The firm currently employs 70 professionals in a single office in Manhattan.

Kekst has worked with Publicis for decades, Taufield said. Kekst advised Publicis in 1997 when Publicis was in a dispute with True North Communications over a proposed acquisition of another firm. Kekst also advised Publicis on its acquisition of IT communications firm Digitas last year. Kekst and Publicis have been discussing a possible merger for the past five to ten years, Taufield said.

According to data from mergermarket, Kekst worked on 67 deals in the first half of this year valued at more than $108 million, putting it well ahead of all its competitors in the financial services communications industry.