NEW YORK: Incepta Group’s dollars 150 million acquisition of IR firm Sard Verbinnen last week (PRWeek, April 10) has left industry observers wondering just how high the price of PR firms can go.
NEW YORK: Incepta Group’s dollars 150 million acquisition of IR
firm Sard Verbinnen last week (PRWeek, April 10) has left industry
observers wondering just how high the price of PR firms can go.
M&A specialist Sard, with just dollars 13.8 million in fee income and
profits of dollars 2 million, was bought by the UK-based Incepta for
dollars 58 million, with a further dollars 92 million available based on
future financial performance.
Independents were stunned by the price tag. ’Nobody has ever come to me
with a 29 times pre-tax offer,’ said one, ’It changes the dynamics of
the market.’ Another admitted he was reconsidering his staunch
independence: ’If a company with dollars 14 million and 14% margins is
worth dollars 58 million, I shudder to think what we would get. The guys
at Robinson Lerer & Montgomery must be pissed.’
Incepta chief executive David Wright declined to comment on the price,
but he did confirm that his UK-based communications giant expected its
global income to reach dollars 160 million in 2000, with hi-tech,
design, advertising and corporate branding acquisitions currently on the
What will happen to the M&A division of Sard’s new sister company,
Citigate Dewe Rogerson, remains unclear. One option mooted internally
was to fold CDR’s M&A practice into Sard, but it is understood that the
newly acquired agency is diametrically opposed to consolidation of the
businesses. Instead, Sard reportedly wants to use Incepta’s resources
while retaining a separate structure.
CDR’s transactions and strategic communications division is led by
managing director Owen Blicksilver - who, ironically, worked at Ogilvy,
Adams & Rhinehart alongside George Sard.