WASHINGTON: APCO, a DC-based agency formerly owned by Grey Global, announced today that it has completed a management buyout, making it a majority employee-owned company.
Grey announced a year ago that it was seeking to divest itself of its shares in the company. WindRiver, a Utah-based merchant bank that specializes in management buyouts, is backing the APCO management through both debt and equity in the deal. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed by press time.
APCO CEO Margery Kraus said in an interview Monday afternoon that the "partnership model" of ownership would be comparable to that of many law firms. She said that about 40 current APCO employees would be senior enough to have a stake in the company.
Kraus said that the buyout will allow the agency to attract and keep the top talent in the field more easily.
Krause, who founded the company two decades ago, said that the employee acquisition is deeply satisfying for her personally.
"I really wanted this to be a legacy," she said. "Now, we are definitely in control of our own destiny."
In APCO's specialty, which she characterized as "management consulting in the communication area," expertise is often the key to attracting top clients and Kraus noted that 70% of the firm's business comes from referrals from other satisfied customers.
WPP announced two weeks ago it was acquiring Grey Global. APCO was not part of the deal, which included PR agency GCI Group.