Ad, PR firms are merging here today Badmington Holecheck already has shifted staff to Cornerstone's offices

'A smart fit for both'

Smaller partner has shut down Lutherville agency

April 22, 1996|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

Cornerstone, a Baltimore advertising and marketing firm that has seen its star rising lately, and Badmington Holecheck, a respected Baltimore public relations agency, plan to merge today.

The new company, which will retain the Cornerstone name, will have estimated combined billings this year of $37 million and a staff of 25, said executives at the two firms.

The lion's share of the revenues -- about $30 million, will come from Cornerstone's business.

Badmington Holecheck has closed its Lutherville office and its five employees have shifted to Cornerstone's Pratt Street headquarters.

"We see this as a smart fit for both of us; now we'll have a fully integrated agency," said Greg DeRoches, president and chief executive officer of Cornerstone.

He said the decision to merge came after a year of discussions and was driven by an increasing need by his firm's clients for public relations expertise.

Badmington Holecheck, founded 26 years ago as James Holecheck Public Relations, was strictly a public relations agency whose client list was largely legal and government or quasi-government agencies.

Its clients range from Maryland Business for Responsive Government, an industry lobbying group, and Semmes, Bowen & Semmes, the Baltimore law firm.

"We have always been a company called on to handle strategic interests -- get-the-plant-closed, get-the-campaign-won type of agency; we had no advertising capability," said Richards R. Badmington.

"We see this merger as a way to broaden both of our companies' resources."

Mr. Badmington also has served as public relations coordinator for various political campaigns, including the primary race for Democrat Mary Pat Clarke, who ran unsuccessfully for Baltimore mayor last year.

Cornerstone, which took seven awards this year at Advertising Association of Baltimore's 22nd Annual Best in Baltimore ADDY Awards Show, is largely a marketing and public relations agency. Its clients range from consumer products giant Procter & Gamble to Bon Secours Hospital and Digital Express Group, the fast-grow- ing Reston, Va.-based Internet access provider.

"The merger was very client-driven," Mr. DeRoches said.

"Our clients are increasingly requiring an agency that has the depth to handle a broad range of duties."

Under the merger, Mr. De-Roches continues to head the 15-year-old Cornerstone as chief executive; Mr. Badmington, who purchased Holecheck in 1991, will be vice president for public relations.

Pub Date: 4/22/96

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