Consolidated staff buy out shares

Employees of Consolidated Communications have bought out venture capital firm 3i’s 25 per cent stake in the agency.

Employees of Consolidated Communications have bought out venture

capital firm 3i’s 25 per cent stake in the agency.



The deal means that Consolidated is now 75 per cent employee-owned, with

the remaining quarter stake held by a private investor.



Part of 3i’s former stake was bought by 34 individual staff members,

including managing director and agency founder Alastair Gornall, who

already had a minority stake in the firm. The rest was ploughed back

into Consolidated’s employee share-ownership plan, the first of its kind

to be set up by a PR agency when Consolidated broke off from Scope

Communications in 1990.



The scheme now accounts for 19 per cent of total equity - up from 12 per

cent. Staff automatically join the scheme after six months.



Gornall said the rationale behind the buy-back was a mixture of fee

income growth, staff demands and low interest rates, which enabled staff

to borrow money to buy shares. ’It makes me very proud to see some young

people going to the bank to borrow up to pounds 20,000 to have an

enhanced stake in our business,’ he said.



3i’s investment enabled the agency to get off the ground with a staff of

23 and fees of pounds 750,000 almost ten years ago.



Ten years on, Consolidated employs 77 people and has fee income of some

pounds 3.5 million.



Audi UK has picked Consolidated to handle its consumer PR after a pitch

against agencies, including four-year incumbent Shilland and Co (PR

Week, 3 September).



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