The merger will be effected through a holding company with shared equity and will result in a combined staff complement of 20 people operating between the two branches.
Its combined client list now includes national and international heavyweights such as Marriott International, the Maersk Group, Novo Nordisk and Lew Geffen Sotheby's International Realty.
"The agencies have collaborated on a number of projects over the past few years and this merger is the next logical step," says Lebo Madiba, MD of PR Powerhouse.
"The merger will give us on-the-ground capability in two of the country's most important business centres," says Rachel Irvine, MD of Irvine Bartlett. "It will also enable us to offer our client base even greater reach and impact across South Africa."
Madiba and Irvine are long-time associates, having met when they worked together at the same company several years ago, before establishing their own communications agencies. Taking advantage of the opportunities for rapid client growth by utilising both deep commercial and media knowledge, the companies moved beyond the more traditional models in establishing teams that have proven highly responsive and innovative in approach.
The merger will create an agency that combines the specialist skills contained within each team to offer a combination of continental and international experience.
Madiba and Irvine have confirmed that the two branches will initially retain their respective branding and trading names. "Each agency is known and respected in its home market and we feel it is important at this stage to retain the equity we've built up in the two brand names," says Irvine. "While the merger will significantly increase our operational strength, we also wish to emphasise the value of continuity and commitment to our existing client base."