GR PR firm buys Detroit operation

July 31, 2009
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Grand Rapids public and investor relations firm Lambert Edwards & Associates is acquiring  John Bailey & Associates, which has offices in suburban Detroit and in Lansing.

“We think it’s a great opportunity,” LEA President & Managing Partner Jeff Lambert said. “We set out on this process to look at acquiring great talent and a great philosophical fit and a nice client base. We found those with John Bailey & Associates.”

John Bailey, who founded his namesake firm in 1996, becomes a partner in LE&A and continues as chairman of John Bailey & Associates, which specializes in the automotive business and public affairs. LE&A concentrates on consumer, financial communications and health care and technology.

The private firms will retain their brands, offices and a combined roster of 40 employees after the acquisition. Revenues are expected to top $6 million.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

“From our perspective, we have long wanted to build our strength on the west side of the state,” said Bailey, who has logged nearly 40 years in the public relations business and worked for two major Detroit area firms before opening his own shop in 1996.

Lambert said the acquisition makes LE&A the only statewide public relations firm, with locations in Troy, Lansing and Grand Rapids, and one of the largest in the state. The company he founded in 1998 now will have 110 clients in 20 states and five countries.

“From time to time other firms have had more than one office, but we’ve had our Lansing and metro Detroit office for many, many years — six years. Both have been very successful. So this was a great opportunity to really find a great partner and to be very, very strong across the entire state.”

He said he is excited about participating in the auto industry as Detroit tries to rise from the ashes of bankruptcy at Chrysler and General Motors.

“We believe there is no better time to be investing in automotive than right now,” Lambert said. “We think there’s a lot of folks that have some trepidation, but we think that it’s an opportunity to be there to help the rebound, to help the recovery and be part of that bounceback.”

Bailey said doing business in southeastern Michigan has been challenging during the recession and the tumult in the state’s manufacturing sector.

“It’s really tough, but we have done a lot of hard work to try to keep our costs under control and try to keep a lot of our key clients busy and active and happy with us,” Bailey said. “It’s been tough, but we’re still doing fine and we’re surviving, but this gives us a chance to really offer more to our current clients and future clients, as well.”

LE&A currently has an office at 171 Monroe Ave. NW.

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