The full story behind the FD sale

Financial Dynamics' management have secured an additional ­­five-year earnout of up to £43m as part of the agency's sale to US company FTI Consulting for £139m.

The cash-and-shares deal, the largest ever for a financial PR agency, is the first notable case of a management consultancy moving into financial comms.

FD takes an initial consideration of £63m from the acquisition, while Advent International - the private-equity firm that bought the company three years ago from Cordiant Communications - makes £47m from the deal. Advent only made an input of £8m three years ago when FD went through a £26m MBO (PRWeek, 9 July 2003).

This week's deal is the latest of many ownership changes at the City agency.

‘It is a landmark moment,' said FD chief executive Charles Watson: ‘In our view we're ultimately a consultancy. This shows categorically that PR is getting taken more ­seriously.

‘Just like any major deal requires a legal adviser and a banker, it also needs comms support. I had a conversation with a CEO who said he would not consider starting an initiative without ­considering comms.'

Pembridge Partners partner Mark Adams said: ‘It's a big slap on the back for the [PR] industry and the practice of specialisation. Charles is a good businessman and secured a very good deal. It also highlights that there is money to be made from investing within people-based companies.'

Numis analyst Lorna Tilbian described the deal as ‘fair' and tipped it to be a success.

FD has 17 offices, and clients including easyJet, PartyGaming and Tate & Lyle. It expects to exceed £66m in revenue this year.

FD and FTI had their first talks just four months ago. They are working together, but FD will operate as a separate entity run by existing management.


Charles Watson, Group CEO
Joined FD in 1990. In January 2001, became CEO. In 2002, launched agency network FD International.

Oliver Pawle, Chairman
Joined FD in 2004. Is vice-chairman in the Investment Banking Division of UBS.

Sanjay Jawa, Group COO and FCO
A former Barclays Global Investors finance director, he is responsible for FD's financial and operating infrastructure. He was formerly CFO at London-based corporate finance house Hawkpoint.

Declan Kelly, CEO (US) and chairman (Ireland)
Oversees New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington DC operations.

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