WPP makes its own bet on the US presidential elections with Glover Park lobbying firm buy

WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell has been telling us for ages now how much next year’s US presidential election will impact on marketing spending and he’s put some of the company’s money where his mouth is by buying Washington lobbying firm Glover Park for an undisclosed sum. Glover Parks turns over about about $60m, a pretty staggering amount for a company whose job it is to whisper in the ears of elected politicians and government officials.

Glover Park was founded in 2001 by Democrat supporters including President Bill Clinton’s former press secretary Joe Lockhart. Lockhart left to join Facebook as its top lobbyist in June. The company is now led by Carter Eskew who is staying on.

Glover Park hit the headlines this summer when it was brought in to lobby for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation at the height of the News of the World phone hacking scandal.

WPP has acquired a gaggle of US lobbying firms over the past few years to add to the public affairs businesses it already had within its various PR companies including Hill & Knowlton and ad agencies. Last December it bought Blue State Digital which handled president Obama’s digital fund-raising in 2008 and it also owns Dewey Square which recently found itself in hot water over allegations that it had distributed forged letters of support.

It also recently merged another political outfit Public Strategies with PR giant H&K which led to the departure of well-regarded H&K CEO Paul Taaffe.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.