Sard Verbinnen Merger
October 13, 2021, New York – Finsbury Glover Hering and Sard Verbinnen & Co (“SVC”) today announced a merger to create a leading strategic communications firm globally advising clients in navigating critical opportunities and challenges.
The new firm will help clients achieve their missions and realize their business goals, with approximately 1,000 professionals operating from 25 offices in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States, including its global headquarters in New York. Pro forma combined 2020 revenue was more than $330 million.
Over the past three decades, both firms have built impressive reputations advising clients during their most significant transformational events. The new firm will be a leader in all aspects of strategic communications, including government affairs, corporate reputation, crisis management and transformation and change, as well as the leading force in financial communications worldwide, with strong experience and expertise in M&A, private equity, IPOs, SPAC transactions, shareholder activism and restructurings.
The combined firm will offer clients world-class expertise and counsel through five integrated offerings, supported by specialist teams providing Research and Insights, Digital Strategy and Design and Creative capabilities:
Crisis and Issues Management, delivering sophisticated strategic thinking, candid advice and agile execution that enables clients to prepare for and manage high-stakes situations, complex issues and periods of intense scrutiny while communicating with clarity, integrity and consistency;
Public Policy and Government Affairs, drawing upon decades of government, campaign and policy experience and strong networks in the world’s capitals to enable clients to shape the regulatory and policy debates across leading regions;
Financial and Transaction Communications, advising on the world’s largest, most complex mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, SPAC transactions, restructurings, spin-offs and shareholder activist situations to help clients maximize their value and move decisively ahead;
Corporate Reputation, developing strategies that position clients for success, build trust with stakeholders and meet shifting societal expectations while protecting, strengthening and repairing reputations, based on in-depth research, sound judgment and creative thinking; and
Transformation and Change, supporting businesses and organizations at their most critical moments with internal communications that engage, empower and energize employees and other stakeholders, drive cultural change and advance business objectives.
The combined firm’s professionals have deep sector knowledge within rapidly growing industries, such as Health, Food and Agriculture and Renewable Energy, as well as expertise in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), litigation and regulatory communications and cybersecurity.
Senior professionals from both firms will lead the new company. George Sard will join Roland Rudd and Carter Eskew as Co-Chairmen. Alexander Geiser will serve as Global CEO; Mike Feldman and Paul Verbinnen as Co-Chairs of North America; Andrew Cole as Deputy Global CEO as well as Co-CEO of North America with Joel Johnson, Paul Kranhold and Winnie Lerner; Faeth Birch as CEO of UK, Middle East and Asia; and Brigitte von Haacke as CEO of Europe. In addition, Sanjay Bhutiani will be Global CTO, Randal Bridges will be Global CIO, Ajay Junnarkar will be Global CFO and Sydney Neuhaus will be Global COO.
Equity in the new company will be owned by nearly 40 percent of the firm’s employees. WPP will remain the majority investor. Golden Gate Capital, which is a significant minority investor in SVC, will convert its equity in SVC and remain an investor in the new firm.
Finsbury Glover Hering Global Co-Chairmen Roland Rudd and Carter Eskew said: “Our clients operate in an increasingly complex world with diverse stakeholder interests. To generate growth, open markets, shape policy and attract capital, companies need to seamlessly communicate to more audiences and across more markets than ever before. This merger brings together the most accomplished communications professionals, operating within a global firm that will have the expertise and experience to deliver reputation advisory services to address critical c-suite concerns.”
SVC Co-Founders George Sard and Paul Verbinnen added: “This is a combination of two successful, growing firms with strong track records, complementary leadership positions, deep entrepreneurial spirits, cultures of collaboration and integrity and a heritage of delivering for our clients at their most high-pressure moments. Our success has been driven by our teams’ tireless commitment to supporting our clients and one another and upholding high standards of excellence in all that we do. We are particularly excited that the combination will enable us to provide additional professional development opportunities and establish a new generation of employee owners in the combined company.”
Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said: “The demand for Board-level strategic advice on a growing range of financial, reputational and social issues has never been greater. As the reputations of companies and their brands become ever more closely linked, our leadership in this area is a core part of our offer as we support our clients’ continued transformation. WPP is delighted to support the ambitions of the leadership teams of Finsbury Glover Hering and SVC in creating a powerhouse in strategic communications, with the expertise, scale and footprint to provide unparalleled service to global clients.”
Neale Attenborough, an Operating Partner at Golden Gate Capital said, “We have a strong partnership with George, Paul and the entire SVC leadership team and have enjoyed seeing their business grow rapidly over the past five years. We are very excited about this partnership, especially as it creates the pre-eminent firm in the strategic communications sector. Golden Gate Capital will remain an investor in the combined company.”
The merger is expected to be completed in Q4 2021 and the combined company will operate under a new name starting in 2022. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Notes to Editors
SVC has for many years been the top global transaction communications advisor on M&A, IPOs and SPACs – consistently ranked as a leader in the North America and global M&A league tables. SVC is also a leader in advising companies facing shareholder activist campaigns, a leading firm in litigation and crisis communications and has advised on many high-stakes situations around the world with particular areas of strength in the U.S. and Asia. Headquartered in New York, SVC has broad capabilities across the U.S., with strong teams in offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Washington D.C. and Boston, as well as in London and Hong Kong. A South Florida office will open shortly.
Finsbury Glover Hering is a global strategic communications advisory firm, headquartered in New York with over 800 multidisciplinary experts across the world’s major financial, government, business and cultural centers. Finsbury Glover Hering is a leader in crisis, corporate reputation, public affairs and capital markets and M&A advisory, as well as an acknowledged leader in boardroom communication counsel. The company was formed through the merger of leading strategic communications consultancies Finsbury, The Glover Park Group and Hering Schuppener in January 2021. Finsbury Glover Hering serves its global client base from offices in Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Dubai, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Paris, Riyadh, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Washington D.C. and Zurich.
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