Peppercomm acquires Walek & Associates

In its second acquisition in a month, Peppercomm has bought financial specialist agency Walek & Associates.

NEW YORK: Peppercomm has bought financial services specialist firm Walek & Associates in its second acquisition in a month.

Walek will become a specialized unit within Peppercomm known as WalekPeppercomm, adding its expertise in asset management, capital markets, and IR to the parent agency's consumer marketing, digital, and social media chops.

“We were looking for a partner that had really deep, top-of-the-line industry experience and knowledge in capital markets, finance, and IR that could do good crisis work and that had a good reputation,” said Ed Moed, co-founder and managing partner at Peppercomm, adding that the two firms' cultures were also a good fit. “It's great to have the expertise and all that, but you have to have cultures that match.”

Thomas Walek, president and founder of the eponymous firm, noted that “as part of Peppercomm, we will be able to amplify what we do to such an extent, with the ability to pull it all together with integrated marketing and other functions.”

Both Moed and Walek said they expect no layoffs as a result of the deal, with Walek's leadership team transitioning to roles at Peppercomm. Walek will serve as president of the WalekPeppercomm unit.

The combined firm will have a financial services client list that includes Pershing and EY.

Earlier this month, Peppercomm acquired boutique agency Janine Gordon & Associates and created the JGAPeppercomm specialty unit focused on the consumer luxury, lifestyle, and nonprofit sectors.

While financial information about the deal was not released, Moed said the acquisitions have increased Peppercomm's bottom line by about 25%. Despite having two new specialty groups, Peppercomm operates with one P&L across the entire agency, he said.

Peppercomm reported revenue of $15.9 million last year, up 11% compared with the year prior.

“The reality is that we have more horizontality by specializing in areas like financial services. It will allow us to become deeper and our growth will continue because we're adding these services and people,” Moed said. “Our goal isn't to become a top five global agency, it's to be a really fast-moving, entrepreneurial, smart agency that offers a different way of thinking, and that's where we keep going.”

Peppercomm also rebranded last October, adding a second “m” to the end of its name.

M&A consultant StevensGouldPincus served as an adviser on the Peppercomm-Walek deal.

This story was updated on September 30 to correct the fact that Genworth Financial is not a current Peppercomm client.

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