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PR Pitches and mergers & acquisitions: October 2023 update

Welcome to the PRmoment Podcast.

Welcome to our October review of PR Pitches and mergers & acquisitions in the UK PR scene with Andrew Bloch.

He is the lead consultant - PR, Social, Content and Influencer at the new business consultancy firm AAR and a partner at PCB Partners, where he advises on buying and selling marketing services agencies.

Andrew was also a co-founder at PR agency Frank PR, where he is still a non-executive director at Frank PR.

Thanks to our PRmoment Podcast sponsors, The PRCA.

A reminder about our new event PR Masterclass: The Agency Growth Forum.

At this one event, 22 experts will give 11 Masterclasses on essential elements of managing a modern, profitable and successful PR firm.

Here’s a summary of what Andrew and PRmoment founder discuss as PR enters its golden quarter!

2 mins This month's PR agency pitch wins news:

  • The Romans win Deliveroo
  • PHA win England Golf
  • Stripe win White & Mackay
  • Made by Giants win YouLend
  • Taylor Herring win Sky Mobile and Sky Broadband
  • Mission agencies Speed and Krow win the Post Office
  • Tigerbond win Justgiving
  • Pitch win EA Sports FC
  • Third City win Nespresso
  • Four win The National Lottery Heritage Fund
  • Firstlight win Chivas Brothers
  • Circle PR win Fairmont Hotels
  • M&C Saatchi win Elizabeth Arden

12.30 mins Andrew reflects on the current state of the PR new business market as we enter the busy Christmas period

“The markets in a decent place…there’s hesitancy but great agencies always do well in spite of the economy.”

“The tech sector needs to realign and readjust, but it’s not going anywhere - it will come back strong.”

15 mins Andrew talks about this month's M&A activity

“There a lot going on this month - both trade (deals) and private equity.”

  • Havas acquires Australian Public Affairs (APA)
  • Omnicom acquires Plus Comms and FP1 - which are US-based corporate PR and lobbying firms.

“This is all about the run into the US presidential election.”

  • Milltown acquire the tech policy consultancy Taso
  • SEC Newgate aquire Wepublic, a corporate agency in the Netherlands.
  • Tyto acquire Its a Rep, a Dutch comms agency.
  • Farner acquires Lansons.

“Farner now has about 17 agencies across Europe. Farner’s fee income is about $86m globally.”

“They’ve (Farner) have almost doubled in size in the last couple of years.”

“Farner is backed by Waterland Private Equity, the same private equity firm that backed the Markettiers deal.”

“The valuation of a business comes down to scale and specialist.”

The way that Waterland works is that they don’t like to get into bids…they want a partner. They invest time in a non-competitive process.”

“It (Lansons) was an EOT, which sometimes makes it (a sale) a complex process.”

“Gordon Tempest Hay (ex Teneo/Blue Rubicon) joined Lansons 18 months/2 years ago, and... found them a buyer.”

“It’s interesting that Cirkle and Lansons both sold relatively soon after becoming an Employee Owned Trust (EOT).”

28 min Morrow Sodali, the US-based firm, acquires Powerscourt

“I think this deal is worth in excess of £50m.”

“Morrow Sodali has been on a run of complimentary acquisitions.”

“Powerscourt is one of those firms which has been on a proper run for the last few years.”

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