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Agencies Mergers and Acquisitions WPP

WPP merges strategic comms firm Finsbury Glover Hering with Sard Verbinnen


By Sam Bradley | Senior Reporter

October 13, 2021 | 4 min read

Strategic communications agencies Finsbury Glover Hering and Sard Verbinnen (SVC) are to be merged into a single entity by parent company WPP. The holding company said the move, which includes SVC’s acqusition from Golden Gate Capital, would create ”the world’s leading strategic communications firm.”

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WPP has announced its intention to merge Sard Verbinnen and Finsbury Glover Hering

The new company will be led by a coalition of executives from Finsbury and Sard Verbinnen. George Sard, Roland Rudd and Carter Eskew are all set to service as co-chairman of the business, which is headquartered in New York.

What’s been announced?

  • WPP is forming a new holding company for Finsbury Glovery Hering and SVC.

  • While it’s already the majority shareholder of Finsbury (valued at $917m), this new holding company will acquire SVC (valued at $303m) from Golden Gate Capital and Sard’s employee shareholders. This process is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2021.

  • Mark Read, chief executive officer 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.”

  • The combined SVC-Finsbury enterprise will be named in the new year.

  • Alexander Geiser will serve as global chief executive, Ajay Junnakar will serve as global chief financial officer, Sydney Neuhaus will serve as global chief operating officer and Andrew Cole will take on the role of deputy global chief executive officer.

Why has WPP merged the two companies?

  • While Finsbury has offices around the world, including in China, Germany, Dubai and the UK, SVC has a larger presence in the United States. A combined firm would have a global presence.

  • The combined company will enjoy specific expertise in health, food, renewable energy, ESG, cybersecurity and DE&I concerns. WPP said that “the 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.”

  • Roland Rudd and Carter Eskew, Finsbury Glover Hering co-chairmen, 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.”

  • George Sard and Paul Verbinnen, the co-founders of SVC, said: “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.”

Agencies Mergers and Acquisitions WPP

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