Freuds looking for 'strong leadership' in future acquisition targets

A strong leadership team is the number one thing Freuds is looking for in potential acquisition targets, according to its outgoing CEO.

Andrew McGuinness, who joined Freud Communications just over two years ago, announced on Wednesday that he would leave the business, but remain as an adviser to what is one of the UK's largest PR firms.

He will have a specific focus on "acquisitions and nurturing key businesses that we have recently invested in", according to the email sent by founder Matthew Freud to staff on Wednesday announcing the change. The firm acquired US agency Brew in January this year, and made a 50 per cent investment in marketing and events business Proud Robinson last year.

Asked by PRWeek what the firm's M&A priorities would be, McGuinness said: "As you'll have seen we've been pretty active over the last 12 months and plan to continue to be so.

"We shall continue to focus on best-in-class communications businesses - we're not quite ready to buy a heavy steel firm yet - and will assess all sizes of opportunities, from start-ups to established firms. Ultimately, the most important criterion is the strength of the leadership team."

PRWeek revealed last year that Freuds potentially had up to £25m at its disposal to fund acquisitions, with international expansion understood to be a likely target.

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