Consortium benefits PR’s growth sectors

A consortium of venture capitalists, including both private investors and high street banks, has raised pounds 50 million to finance mergers, acquisitions and disposals in high-growth PR sectors.

A consortium of venture capitalists, including both private

investors and high street banks, has raised pounds 50 million to finance

mergers, acquisitions and disposals in high-growth PR sectors.



The investors’ aim is to fund major financial transactions in

high-growth PR areas, including bio-tech, healthcare, financial and

IT.



The fund’s co-ordinator is Chris Lewis, chief executive of hi-tech PR

specialist Lewis Communications. ’Bio-tech, healthcare, financial and IT

are all major growth areas in PR. I’m sure it will provide a good return

on the investment,’ he said.



Lewis has contributed pounds 2 million of his own money to a pool of

pounds 30 million which has come from 15 wealthy individuals who made

their fortunes in technology and wish to invest in high-growth area PR

agencies.



They include Mike Hill, the founder of the Doctor Solomon’s anti-virus

software, and Norman Wood, who, as chairman of the Gorsewood Group of IT

consultancies, is contributing on a corporate and personal level. Both

these backers are thought to have put in as much as pounds 5 million

each.



The remaining pounds 20 million has come from venture capital firms and

high street banks, understood to include NatWest, Barclays and Lloyds

TSB.



The consortium is on the verge of appointing financial advisers and has

established a shortlist of three: Ernst and Young, Arthur Andersen and

PricewaterhouseCoopers.



Lewis remains the main shareholder in the agency he founded five years

ago, now the UK’s 11th largest hi-tech agency by fee income. He said: ’I

know how it feels to grow a company from scratch. I don’t want to see

people who start firms getting swallowed up by corporations which are

only interested in capital returns.’



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